The Ellesmere ms of Chaucer's Canterbury tales
Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400., Furnivall, Frederick James, 1825-1910.
Page  391 [6-text p 168]



¶ Heere bigynneth the Shipmannes tale. .*. [Elles.] [folio 147b]

A Marchant whilom dwelled at Seint Denys,
That riche was / for which men helde hym wys
A wyf he hadde / of excellent beautee*. [[Painting of the Shipman, on the left.]]
And compaignable / and reuelous was she
Which is a thyng that causeth more dispence
Than worth is / al the chiere and reuerence
That men hem doon / at festes and at daunces
Swiche salutacions / and contenaunces
Passen / as dooth a shadwe vp on the wal
But wo is hym / that payen moot for al
The sely housbonde / algate he moste paye
He moot vs clothe / and he moot vs arraye
Al for his owene worship richely
In which array / we daunce iolily
And if þat he noght may / par auenture
Or ellis / list no swich dispence endure
But thynketh / it is wasted / and ylost
Thanne moot another / payen for oure cost
Or lene vs gold / and that is perilous
¶ This noble Marchant heeld a worthy hous
ffor which / he hadde alday so greet repair
ffor his largesse / and for his wyf was fair
That wonder is / but herkneth to my tale
Amonges alle hise gestes / grete and smale
Ther was a Monk a fair man and a boold
I trowe of thritty wynter he was oold
That euere in oon / was comynge to that place
This yonge Monk / þat was so fair of face Page  392 [6-text p 169]
Aqueynted was so / with the goode man
Sith that / hir firste knoweliche bigan
That in his hous / as famulier was he
As it possible / any freend to be
¶ And for as muchel / as this goode man
And eek this Monk of which þat I bigan
Were bothe two / yborn in o village
The Monk / hym claymeth / as for cosynage
And he agayn / he seith nat ones nay
But was as glad ther-of / as fowel of day
ffor to his herte / it was a greet plesance
Thus been they knyt with eterne alliance
And ech of hem / gan oother for tassure
Of bretherhede / whil þat hir lyf may dure
¶ ffree was Daun Iohn and namely of dispence [folio 148a]
As in that hous / and ful of diligence
To doon plesance / and also greet costage
He noght forgat to yeue the leeste page
In al the hous / but after hir degree
He yaf the lord / and sitthe al his meynee
Whan that he cam / som manere honest thyng
ffor which / they were as glad of his comyng
As fowel is fayn / whan þat the sonne vp riseth
Na moore of this as now / for it suffiseth
But so bifel / this Marchant on a day
Shoop hym / to make redy his array
Toward / the toun of Brugges for to fare
To byen there / a porcion of ware
ffor which / he hath to Parys sent anon
A Messager / and preyed hath daun Iohn
That he sholde come / to Seint Denys to pleye
With hym and with his wyf / a day or tweye
Er he to Brugges wente / in alle wise
¶ This noble Monk of which I yow deuyse
Hath of his Abbot as hym list licence
By cause / he was a man / of heigh prudence Page  393 [6-text p 170]
And eek an Officer / out for to ryde
To seen hir graunges / and hire bernes wyde
And vn-to Seint Denys / he comth anon
Who was so welcome / as my lord Daun Iohn
Oure deere cosyn / ful of curteisye
With hym broghte he a Iubbe of Maluesye
And eek another / ful of fyn vernage
And volatyl / as ay was his vsage
And thus / I lete hem drynke and pleye
This Marchant and this Monk a day or tweye
¶ The thridde day / this Marchant vp ariseth
And on hise nedes / sadly hym auyseth
And vp / in to his Countour hous gooth he
To rekene with hym self / wel may be
Of thilke yeer / how þat it with hym stood
And how þat he / despended hadde his good
And if þat he / encressed were or noon
Hise bookes / and his bagges many oon
He leith biforn hym / on his countyng bord
fful riche / was his tresor and his hord
ffor which ful faste / his Countour dore he shette
And eek he nolde / þat no man sholde hym lette
Of hise accountes / for the meene tyme
And thus he sit til it was passed pryme
¶ Daun Iohn was rysen / in the morwe also
And in the gardyn / walketh to and fro
And hath hise thynges seyd / ful curteisly [folio 148b]
¶ This goode wyf cam walkynge pryuely
In to the gardyn / there he walketh softe
And hym saleweth / as she hath doon ofte
A mayde child / cam in hire compaignye
Which as hir list she may gouerne and gye
ffor yet vnder the yerde was the mayde
O deere cosyn myn / daun Iohn she sayde
What eyleth yow / so rathe for to ryse
¶ Nece quod he / it oghte ynough suffise Page  394 [6-text p 171]
ffyue houres for to slepe / vp on a nyght
But it were / for an old appalled wight
As been thise wedded men / þat lye and dare
As in a fourme / sit a wery hare
Were al forstraught / with houndes grete and smale
But deere Nece / why be ye so pale
I trowe certes / that oure goode man
Hath yow laboured / sith the nyght bigan
That yow were nede / to resten hastily
And with that word / he lough ful murily
And of his owene thought he wax al reed
¶ This faire wyf gan for to shake hir heed
And seyde thus / ye god woot al quod she
Nay nay cosyn myn / it stant nat so with me
ffor by that god / that yaf me soule and lyf/
In al the Reawme of ffrance / is ther no wyf
That lasse lust hath / to that sory pley
ffor I may synge / allas and weylawey
That I was born / but to no wight quod she
Dar I nat telle / how that it stant with me
Wherfore I thynke / out of this land to wende
Or elles / of my self to make an ende
So ful am I / of drede / and eek of care
¶ This Monk bigan vp on this wyf to stare
And / seyde / Allas my Nece god forbede
That ye / for any sorwe / or any drede
ffordo youre self / but tel me of youre grief
Parauenture / I yow may / in youre meschief
Conseille or helpe / and therfore telleth me
All youre anoy / for it shal been secree
ffor on my porthors / I make an ooth
That neuere in my lyf / for lief ne looth
Ne shal I / of no conseil yow biwreye
¶ The same agayn / to yow quod she I seye
By god / and by this Porthors I yow swere
Though men me wolde / al in to pieces tere Page  395 [6-text p 172]
Ne shal I neuere / for to goon to helle
Biwreye a word / of thyng þat ye me telle
Nat for no cosynage / ne alliance [folio 149a]
But verraily / for loue and affiance
Thus been they sworn / and heer vpon they kiste
And ech of hem / tolde oother what hem liste
¶ Cosyn quod she / if þat I hadde a space
As I haue noon / and namely in this place
Thanne wolde I telle / a legende of my lyf
What I haue suffred / sith I was a wyf
With myn housbonde / al be he of youre kyn
¶ Nay quod this Monk by god / and by seint Martyn
He is / na moore cosyn vn-to me
Than is this lief þat hangeth on the tree
I clepe hym so / by Seint Denys of ffrance
To haue / the moore cause of Aqueyntance
Of yow / which I haue loued specially
Abouen alle wommen sikerly
This swere I yow / on my profession
Telleth youre grief / lest þat he come adoun
And hasteth yow / and gooth youre wey anon
¶ My deere loue quod she / o my daun Iohn
fful lief were me / this conseil for to hyde
But out it moot I may namoore abyde
Myn housbonde / is to me the worste man
That euere was / sith þat the world bigan
But sith I am a wyf it sit nat me
To tellen no wight / of oure priuetee
Neither a bedde / ne in noon oother place
God shilde / I sholde it tellen for his grace
A wyf / ne shal nat seyn of hir housbonde
But al honour / as I kan vnderstonde
Saue vn to yow / thus muche I tellen shal
As helpe me god / he is noght worth at al
In no degree / the value of a flye
But yet me greueth moost his nygardye Page  396 [6-text p 173]
And wel ye woot þat wommen naturelly
Desiren thynges sixe / as wel as I
They wolde / that hir housbondes sholde be
Hardy and wise / and riche and ther-to free
And buxom vn to his wyf and fressh abedde
But by that ilke lord / that for vs bledde
ffor his honour / my self for to arraye
A sonday next I moste nedes paye
An hundred frankes / or ellis I am lorn
Yet were me leuere / that I were vnborn
Than me were doon / a sclaundre or vileynye
And if myn housbonde / eek it myghte espye
I nere but lost and therfore I yow preye
Lene me this somme / or ellis moot I deye
Daun Iohn I seye / lene me thise hundred frankes [folio 149b]
Pardee / I wol nat faille yow my thankes
If that yow list to doon that I yow praye
ffor at a certeyn day / I wol yow paye
And doon to yow / what plesance and seruice
That I may doon / right as yow list deuise
And but I do / god take on me vengeance
As foul / as euere hadde Genylon of ffrance
¶ This gentil Monk / answerde in this manere
Now trewely / myn owene lady deere
I haue quod he / on yow so greet a routhe
That I yow swere / and plighte yow my trouthe
That whan youre housbonde / is to fflaundres fare
I wol delyuere yow / out of this care
ffor I wol brynge yow / an hundred frankes
And with that word / he caughte hire by the flankes
And hire embraceth harde / and kiste hire ofte
Gooth now youre wey quod he / al stille and softe
And lat us dyne / as soone as þat ye may
ffor by my chilyndre / it is pryme of day
Gooth now / and beeth as trewe as I shal be
¶ Now elles / god forbede sire quod she Page  397 [6-text p 174]
And forth she gooth / as Iolif as a pye
And bad the cookes / þat they sholde hem hye
So þat men myghte dyne / and that anon
Vp to hir housbonde / is this wyf ygon
And knokketh / at his Countour boldely
¶ Who ther? quod he / Peter it am I.*. [¶ qi la?]
Quod she / what sire / how longe wol ye faste?
How longe tyme / wol ye rekene and caste?
Youre sommes / and youre bookes / and youre thynges?
The deuel haue part on alle swiche rekenynges
Ye haue ynough pardee / of goddes sonde
Com doun to day / and lat youre bagges stonde
Ne be ye nat ashamed that Daun Iohn
Shal fasting al this day alenge goon
Lat vs heere a messe / and go we dyne
¶ Wyf quod this man / litel kanstow deuyne
The curious bisynesse / that we haue
ffor of vs Chapmen / al so god me saue
And by that lord / þat clepid is Seint Yve
Scarsly amonges .xij. ten shul thryue
Continuelly / lastynge vn to oure age
We may wel / make chiere / and good visage
And dryue forth the world / as it may be
And kepen / oure estaat in pryuetee
Til we be deed / or elles that we pleye
A pilgrymage / or goon out of the weye
And therfore / haue I greet necessitee [folio 150a]
Vp on this queynte world tauyse me
ffor eueremoore / we moote stonde in drede
Of hap and ffortune / in oure chapmanhede
¶ To fflaundres / wol I go / to morwe at day
And come agayn / as soone as euere I may
ffor which my deere wyf I thee biseke
As be to euery wight buxom and meke
And for to kepe oure good / be curious
And honestly / gouerne wel oure hous Page  398 [6-text p 175]
Thou hast ynough / in euery maner wise
That / to a thrifty houshold may suffise
Thee lakketh noon array / ne no vitaille
Of siluer in thy purs / shaltow nat faille
And with that word / his Countour dore he shette
And doun he gooth / no lenger wolde he lette
But hastily / a messe was ther seyd
And spedily / the tables were yleyd
And to the dyner / faste they hem spedde
And richely / this Monk / the chapman fedde
¶ At after dyner / daun Iohn sobrely
This Chapman took a-part and priuely
He seyde hym thus / cosyn it standeth so
That wel I se / to Brugges / wol ye go
God and seint Austyn / spede yow and gyde
I prey yow cosyn / wisely that ye ryde
Gouerneth yow also / of youre diete
Atemprely / and namely in this hete
Bitwix vs two / nedeth no strange fare
ffare wel cosyn / god shilde yow fro care
And if þat any thyng by day or nyght
If it lye in my power / and my myght
That ye me wol comande in any wyse
It shal be doon / right as ye wol deuyse
¶ O thyng er þat ye goon / if it may be
I wolde prey yow / for to lene me
An hundred frankes / for a wyke or tweye
ffor certein beestes / þat I moste beye
To stoore with a place þat is oures
God helpe me so / I wolde it were youres
I shal nat faille / surely at my day
Nat for a thousand frankes a Mile way
But lat this thyng be secree / I yow preye
ffor yet to nyght / thise beestes moot I beye
And fare now wel / myn owene cosyn deere
Graunt mercy / of youre cost / and of youre cheere Page  399 [6-text p 176]
¶ This noble marchant / gentilly anon
Answerde / and seyde o cosyn myn Daun Iohn
Now sikerly / this is a smal requeste [folio 150b]
My gold is youres / whan þat it yow leste
And nat oonly my gold / but my chaffare
Take what yow list god shilde þat ye spare
¶ But o thyng is / ye knowe it wel ynogh
Of Chapmen / that hir moneie is hir plogh
We may creaunce / whil we haue a name
But goldlees for to be / it is no game
Paye it agayn / whan it lith in youre ese
After my myght / ful fayn wolde I yow plese
¶ Thise hundred frankes / he fette hym forth anon
And priuely / he took hem to daun Iohn
No wight in al this world / wiste of this loone
Sauynge this Marchant / and daun Iohn alloone
They drynke / and speke / and rome a while and pleye
Til þat daun Iohn / rideth to his Abbeye
The morwe cam / and forth this Marchant rideth
To fflaundres ward / his prentys wel hym gydeth
Til he cam / in to Brugges murily
Now gooth this Marchant faste and bisily
Aboute his nede / and byeth and creaunceth
He neither / pleyeth at dees ne daunceth
But as a Marchant shortly for to telle
He let his lyf / and there I lete hym dwelle
The sonday next this Marchant was agon
To seint Denys / ycomen is Daun Iohn
With crowne and berde all fressh and newe y-shaue
In al the hous / ther nas so litel a knaue
Ne no wight elles / þat he nas ful fayn
That my lord Daun Iohn / was come agayn
And shortly / right to the point for to gon
This faire wyf accorded with daun Iohn
That for thise hundred frankes / he sholde al nyght
Haue hire in hise armes / bolt upright Page  400 [6-text p 177]
And this acord / parfourned was in dede
In myrthe al nyght a bisy lyf they lede
Til it was day / þat Daun Iohn wente his way
And bad the meynee / fare wel haue good day
ffor noon of hem / ne no wight in the toun
Hath of daun Iohn / right no suspecioun
And forth he rydeth / hoom to his Abbeye
Or where hym list. namoore of hym I seye
This Marchant whan þat ended was the faire
To Seint Denys / he gan for to repaire
And with his wyf he maketh feeste and cheere
And telleth hire / that Chaffare is so deere
That nedes / moste he make a cheuyssance
ffor he was bounden / in a reconyssance
To paye twenty thousand sheeld anon [folio 151a]
ffor which / this Marchant is to Parys gon
To borwe / of certeine freendes þat he hadde
A certeyn frankes / and somme with him he ladde
And whan þat he was come / in to the toun
ffor greet chiertee / and greet affectioun
Vn to daun Iohn / he gooth hym first to pleye
Nat for to axe / or borwe of hym moneye
But for to wite / and seen of his welfare
And for to tellen hym / of his chaffare
As freendes doon / whan they been met yfeere
Daun Iohn / hym maketh feeste and murye cheere
And he hym tolde agayn / ful specially
How he hadde wel yboght and graciously
Thanked be god / al hool his marchandise
Saue þat he moste / in alle maner wise
Maken a cheuyssance / as for his beste
And thanne / he sholde been / in ioye and reste
¶ Daun Iohn answerde / certes I am fayn
That ye in heele / ar comen hom agayn
And if þat I were riche / as haue I blisse
Of twenty thousand sheeld / shold ye nat mysse Page  401 [6-text p 178]
ffor ye / so kyndely / this oother day
Lente me gold / and as I kan and may
I thanke yow / by god and by seint Iame
But nathelees / I took vn to oure dame
Youre wyf / at hom / the same gold ageyn
Vpon youre bench / she woot it wel certeyn
By certeyn tokenes / that I kan yow telle
Now by youre leue / I may no lenger dwelle
Oure Abbot wole out of this toun anon
And in his compaignye / moot I goon
Grete wel oure dame / myn owene Nece sweete
And fare wel deere cosyn / til we meete
This Marchant which þat was ful war and wys
Creanced hath / and payd eek in Parys
To certeyn lumbardes / redy in hir hond*. [.i. obligacionem]
The somme of gold / and hadde of hem his bond
And hoom he gooth / murie / as a Papeiay
ffor wel he knew / he stood in swich array
That nedes moste he wynne in that viage
A thousand frankes / abouen al his costage
¶ His wyf ful redy / mette hym atte gate
As she was wont of oold vsage algate
And al that nyght in myrthe they bisette
ffor he was riche / and cleerly out of dette
Whan it was day / this Marchant gan embrace
His wyf / al newe / and kiste hire on hir face
And vp he gooth / and maketh it ful tough [folio 151b]
¶ Namoore quod she / by god ye haue ynough
And wantownely agayn / with hym she pleyde
¶ Til atte laste / this Marchant seyde
By god quod he / I am a litel wrooth
With yow my wyf / al-though it were me looth
And woot ye why / by god as þat I gesse
That ye han maad / a manere straungenesse
Bitwixen me / and my cosyn daun Iohn
Ye sholde han warned me / er I had gon Page  402 [6-text p 179]
That he yow hadde / an hundred frankes payed
By redy tokene / and heeld hym yuele apayed
ffor þat I to hym spak of cheuyssance
Me semed so / as by his contenance
But nathelees / by god oure heuene kyng
I thoughte nat to axen hym no thyng
I prey thee wyf / as do namoore so
Telle me alwey / er that I fro thee go
If any dettour / hath in myn absence
Ypayed thee / lest thurgh thy necligence
I myghte hym axe / a thing that he hath payed
¶ This wyf was nat afered nor affrayed
But boldely she seyde / and that anon
Marie / I deffie / the false Monk / daun Iohn
I kepe nat of hise tokenes / neuer a deel
He took me certeyn gold / that woot I wee
What yuel thedam / on his Monkes snowte
ffor god it woot I wende withouten doute
That he hadde yeue it me / bycause of yow
To doon ther-with / myn honour and my prow
ffor cosynage / and eek for beele cheere
That he hath had / ful ofte tymes heere
But sith I se / I stonde in this disioynt
I wol answere yow / shortly to the poynt
¶ Ye han mo slakkere dettours / than am I
ffor I wol paye yow / wel and redily
ffor day to day / and if so be I faille
I am youre wyf score it vp-on my taille
And I shal paye / as soone as euer I may
ffor by my trouthe / I haue on myn array
And nat on wast bistowed euery deel
And for I haue / bistowed it so weel
ffor youre honour / for goddes sake I seye
As be nat wrooth / but lat vs laughe and pleye
Ye shal / my ioly body / haue to wedde
By god I wol nat paye yow but a bedde Page  403 [6-text p 180]
fforgyue it me / myn owene spouse deere
Turne hiderward / and maketh bettre cheere
¶ This Marchant saugh / ther was no remedie [folio 152a]
And for to chide / it nere but greet folie
Sith that the thyng may nat amended be
Now wyf he seyde / and I foryeue it thee
But by thy lyf ne be namoore so large
Keepe bet oure good / that yeue I thee in charge
Thus endeth my tale / and god vs sende
Taillynge ynough / vn-to oure lyues ende Amen .
¶ Heere endeth / the Shipmannes tale .
Page  404 [6-text p 181]

¶ Bihoold the murie wordes of the Hoost to the Shipman and to the lady Prioresse.*. [on leaf 152]

Wel seyd by corpus dominus quod our Hoost
Now longe / moote thou saille by the cost
Sire gentil maister / gentil Maryneer
God yeue this Monk / a thousand last quade yeer
A ha felawes / beth ware of swiche a Iape
The Monk putte / in the mannes hood an Ape
And in his wyues eek by Seint Austyn
Draweth no Monkes / moore vn to youre In
¶ But now passe ouer / and lat vs seke aboute
Who shal now / telle first of al this route
Another tale / and with that word he sayde
As curteisly / as it had ben a mayde
My lady Prioresse / by youre leue
So that I wiste / I sholde yow nat greue
I wolde demen / that ye tellen sholde
A tale next if so were that ye wolde
Now wol ye vouche sauf my lady deere
¶ Gladly quod she / and seyde as ye shal heere
¶ Explicit. .
Page  405 [6-text p 182]

¶ The prologe of the Prioresses tale. .*. [on leaf 152]

Domine dominus noster.
O lord oure lord / thy name how merueillous
Is in this large world / ysprad quod she
ffor noght oonly / thy laude precious
Parfourned is / by men of dignitee
But by the mouth of children / thy bountee
Parfourned is / for on the brest soukynge
Somtyme / shewen they thyn heriynge
Wherfore in laude / as I best kan or may [folio 152b]
Of thee / and of the lylye flour
Which that the bar / and is a mayde alway
To telle a storie / I wol do my labour
Nat that I may / encreessen hir honour
sfor she hir self / is honour and the roote
Of bountee next hir sone / and soules boote
O mooder mayde / o mayde mooder fre
O bussh vnbrent brennynge in Moyses sighte
That rauysedest doun fro the deitee
Thurgh thyn humblesse / the goost þat in thalighte
Of whos vertu / whan he thyn herte lighte
Conceyued was / the fadres sapience
Helpe me / to telle it in thy reuerence
Lady / thy bountee / thy magnificence
Thy vertu / and thy grete humylitee
Ther may no tonge expresse / in no science
ffor somtyme lady / er men praye to thee
Thou goost biforn / of thy benyngnytee
And getest vs / thurgh lyght of thy preyere
To gyden vs / vn to thy sone so deere Page  406 [6-text p 183]
My konnyng is so wayk o blisful queene
ffor to declare / thy grete worthynesse
That I ne may / the weighte nat susteene
But as a child / of twelf / monthe oold or lesse
That kan vnnethe / any word expresse
Right so fare I / and therfore I yow preye
Gydeth my song þat I shal of yow seye
¶ Explicit .

¶ Heere bigynneth the Prioresses tale.

Ther was in Asye / in a greet Citee*. [[Painting of the Prioress on the left]]
Amonges cristene folk / a Iewerye
Sustened / by a lord / of that contree
ffor foule vsure / and lucre of vileynye*. [¶ turpe lucrum. .]
Hateful / to Crist and to his compaignye
And thurgh the strete / men myghte ride or wende
ffor it was free / and open at eyther ende
A litel scole / of cristen folk ther stood [folio 153a]
Doun at the ferther ende / in which ther were
Children an heepe / ycomen of cristen blood
That lerned in that scole / yeer by yere
Swich manere doctrine / as men vsed there
This is to seyn / to syngen / and to rede
As smale children doon / in hire childhede
Among thise children / was a wydwes sone
A litel clergeon / seuen yeer of age
That day by day / to scole was his wone
And eek also / where as he saugh thymage
Of Cristes mooder he hadde in vsage
As hym was taught to knele adoun and seye
His Aue Marie / as he goth by the weye Page  407 [6-text p 184]
Thus hath this wydwe / hir litel sone ytaught
Oure blisful lady cristes mooder deere
To worshipe ay / and he forgate it naught
ffor sely child / wol alday soone leere
But ay / whan I remembre on this mateere
Seint Nicholas / stant euere in my presence
ffor he so yong to Crist dide reuerence
This litel child his litel book lernynge
As he sat in the scole / at his prymer
He / Alma redemptoris / herde synge
As children / lerned hire Anthiphoner
And as he dorste / he drough hym ner and ner
And herkned ay / the wordes and the noote
Til he the firste vers / koude al by rote
Noght wiste he / what this latyn was to seye
ffor he so yong and tendre was of age
But on a day / his felawe gan he preye
Texpounden hym this song in his langage
Or telle hym / why this song was in vsage
This preyde he hym / to construe and declare
fful often tyme / vpon hise knowes bare
His felawe / which that elder was than he
Answerde hym thus / this song I haue herd seye
Was maked / of oure blisful lady free
Hire to salue / and eek hire for to preye
To been oure help / and socour whan we deye
I kan na moore / expounde in this mateere
I lerne song I kan but smal grammeere
¶ And is this song maked in reuerence [folio 153b]
Of cristes mooder seyde / this Innocent
Now certes / I wol do my diligence
To konne it al / er Cristemasse is went Page  408 [6-text p 185]
Though þat / I for my prymer shal be shent
And shal be beten / thries in an houre
I wol it konne / oure lady for to honoure
His felawe / taughte hym homward priuely
ffro day to day / til he koude it by rote
And thanne / he song it wel and boldely
ffro word to word to word acordynge with the note
Twies a day / it passed thurgh his throte
To scoleward and homward whan he wente
On cristes mooder / set was his entente
¶ As I haue seyd / thurgh out the Iuerie
This litel child / as he cam to and fro
fful murily / wolde he synge and crie
O Alma redemptoris / euere mo
The swetnesse / his herte perced so
Of cristes mooder / that to hire to preye
He kan nat stynte / of syngyng by the weye
Ovre firste foo / the serpent Sathanas*. [¶ Auctor]
That hath / in Iues herte his waspes nest
Vp swal / and seide / o. hebrayk peple allas
Is this to yow / a thyng þat is honest
That swich a boy / shal walken as hym lest
In youre despit and synge of swich sentence
Which is / agayn oure lawes reuerence
ffro thennes forth / the Iues han conspired
This Innocent out of this world to chace
An homycide / ther to / han they hyred
That in an Aleye / hadde a priuee place
And as the child / gan forby for to pace
This cursed Iew hym hente / and heeld hym faste
And kitte his throte / and in a pit hym caste Page  409 [6-text p 186]
I seye / that in a wardrobe / they hym threwe
Where as thise Iewes / purgen hire entraille
O cursed folk / of Herodes al newe
What may youre yuel entente yow auaille
Mordre wol out certeyn / it wol nat faille
And namely / ther thonour of god shal sprede
The blood out crieth / on youre cursed dede
¶ O martir / sowded to virginitee [folio 154a]
Now maystow syngen / folwynge euere in oon
The white lamb celestial quod she
Of which / the grete Euaungelist Seint Iohn
In Pathmos wroot which seith / þat they þat goon
Biforn this lamb / and synge a song al newe*. [i. carnaliter]
That neuere fleshly / wommen they ne knewe
¶ This poure wydwe / awaiteth al that nyght
After hir litel child / but he cam noght
ffor which as soone / as it was dayes lyght
With face pale of drede / and bisy thoght
She hath at scole / and elles where hym soght
Til finally / she gan so fer espie
That he / last seyn was in the Iuerie
With moodres pitee / in hir brest enclosed
She gooth / as she were half / out of hir mynde
To euery place / where she hath supposed
By liklihede / hir litel child to fynde
And euere / on Cristes mooder/ meeke and kynde
She cride / and atte laste / thus she wroghte
Among the cursed Iues / she hym soghte
She frayneth / and she preyeth pitously
To euery Iew / þat dwelte in thilke place
To telle hire / if hir child / wente oght forby
They seyde nay / but Ihesu of his grace Page  410 [6-text p 187]
Yaf in hir thoght inwith a litel space
That in that place / after hir sone she cryde
Where he was casten / in a pit bisyde
O grete god / that parfournest thy laude*. [¶ Auctor]
By mouth of Innocentz / lo heere thy myght
This gemme of chastite / this Emeraude
And eek of martirdom / the Ruby bright
Ther he with throte ykoruen lay vpright
He Alma redemptoris / gan to synge
So loude / þat al the place gan to rynge
¶ The cristene folk / that thurgh the strete wente
In coomen / for to wondre vp on this thyng
And hastily / they for the Prouost sente
He cam anon / with outen tariyng
And herieth Crist that is of heuene kyng
And eek his mooder / honour of mankynde
And after that / the Iewes leet he bynde
¶ This child / with pitous lamentacion [folio 154b]
Vp taken was / syngynge his song alway
And with honour/ of greet procession
They carien hym / vn to the nexte Abbay
His mooder swownynge / by his beere lay
Vnnethe / myghte the peple þat was theere
This newe Rachel / brynge fro his beere
¶ With torment and with shameful deeth echon
This Prouost dooth the Iewes for to sterue
That of this mordre wiste / and that anon
He nolde / no swich cursednesse obserue
Yuele shal he haue / þat yuele wol deserue
Therfore / with wilde hors / he dide hem drawe
And after that he heng hem by the lawe Page  411 [6-text p 188]
¶ Vp on this beere / ay lith this Innocent
Biforn the chief Auter / whil the masse laste
And after that the Abbot with his Couent
Han sped hem / for to burien hym ful faste
And whan they / hooly water on hym caste
Yet spak this child / whan spreynd was hooly water
And song O Alma redemptoris mater.
¶ This Abbot which þat was an hooly man
As Monkes been / or elles oghte be
This yonge child / to coniure he bigan
And seyde o deere child I halsen thee
In vertu / of the hooly Trinitee
Tel me / what is thy cause / for to synge
Sith þat thy throte is kut to my semynge
¶ My throte is kut vn to my nekke boon
Seyde this child and as by wey of kynde
I sholde haue dyed / ye longe tyme agon
But Ihesu crist / as ye in bookes fynde
Wil þat his glorie / laste / and be in mynde
And for the worship / of his mooder deere
Yet may I synge / O Alma / loude and cleere
¶ This welle of mercy Cristes mooder sweete
I loued alwey / as after my konnynge
And whan þat I my lyf / sholde forlete
To me she cam / and bad me for to synge
This Anthephen / verraily / in my deyynge
As ye han herd / and whan þat I hadde songe
Me thoughte / she leyde a greyn vp on my tonge
Wherfore I synge / and synge I moot certeyn [folio 155a]
In honour / of that blisful mayden free
Til fro my tonge / of taken is the greyn
And afterward / thus seyde she to me Page  412 [6-text p 189]
My litel child / now wol I fecche thee
Whan þat the greyn / is fro thy tonge ytake
Be nat agast I wol thee nat forsake
¶ This hooly Monk this Abbot hym meene I
His tonge out caughte / and took a-wey the greyn
And he yaf vp the goost ful softely
And whan this Abbot hadde this wonder seyn
Hise salte teeris / trikled doun as reyn
And gruf he fil / al plat vp on the grounde
And stille he lay / as he had leyn ybounde
The Couent eek / lay on the pauement
Wepynge / and heryen cristes mooder deere
And after that / they ryse and forth been went
And tooken awey / this martir from his beere
And in a temple / of Marbul stones cleere
Enclosen they / his litel body sweete
Ther he is now / god leue us alle for to meete
¶ O yonge Hugh of Lyncoln slayn also
With cursed Iewes / as it is notable
ffor it is / but a litel while ago
Preye eek / for vs / we synful folk vnstable
That of his mercy / god so merciable
On vs / his grete mercy multiplie
ffor reuerence / of his mooder Marie Amen .
¶ Heere is ended / the Prioresses Tale .
Page  413 [6-text p 190]

¶ Bihoold the murye wordes of the Hoost to Chaucer .*. [on leaf 155]

WHan seyd was al this miracle / euery man
As sobre was / that wonder was to se
Til that oure hoost Iapen to bigan*. [.s. Chaucer]
And thanne at erst he looked vp on me
And seyde thus / what man artow quod he?
Thou lookest as thou woldest fynde an hare
ffor euere / vp on the ground / I se thee stare
Approche neer / and looke vp murily [folio 155b]
Now war yow sires / and lat this man haue place
He in the waast is shape / as wel as .I.*. [.i. henry Bailly]
This were a popet in an Arm tenbrace
ffor any womman smal / and fair of face
He semeth eluyssh / by his contenance
ffor vn to no wight / dooth he daliance
Sey now somwhat syn oother folk han sayd
Telle vs a tale / of myrthe / and that anon
Hoost quod I / ne beth nat yuele apayd
ffor oother tale / certes kan I noon
But of a rym / I lerned longe agoon*. [.i. hoost]
Ye that is good quod he / now shul ye heere
Som deyntee thyng me thynketh by his cheere
¶ Explicit .
Page  414 [6-text p 191]

¶ Heere bigynneth Chaucers tale of Thopas.*. [on leaf 155, bk]

[The First Fit.]

[Each third line is on the right of its couple, in the MS.]

Listeth lordes in good entent
And I wol telle verrayment
Of myrthe and of solas
Al of a knyght / was fair and gent
In bataille / and in tourneyment
His name was sire Thopas
¶ Yborn he was / in fer contree
In flaundres / al biyonde the see
At Poperyng in the place
His fader was / a man ful free
And lord he was / of that contree
As it was goddes grace
¶ Sire Thopas / wax a doghty swayn
Whit was his face as Payndemayn
Hise lippes rede as rose
His rode is lyk / scarlet in grayn
And I yow telle / in good certayn
He hadde / a semely nose
¶ His heer / his berd / was lyk saffroun
That to his girdel raughte adoun
Hise shoos of Cordewane
Of Brugges / were his hosen broun
His Robe / was of Syklatoun
That coste many a Iane Page  415 [6-text p 192]
¶ He koude hunte / at wilde deer
And ride an haukyng for Riuer
With grey goshauk on honde
Ther-to he was / a good Archeer
Of wrastlyng was ther noon his peer
Ther any Ram shal stonde
¶ fful many a mayde / bright in bour
They moorne for hym paramour
Whan hem were bet to slepe
But he was chaast and no lechour
And sweete as is the Brembul flour
That bereth the rede hepe
And so bifel vp on a day
ffor sothe / as I yow telle may
Sire Thopas / wolde out ride
He worth / vpon his steede gray
And in his hand a launcegay
A long swerd / by his side
¶ He priketh / thurgh a fair forest [folio 156a]
Ther Inne / is many a wilde best
Ye bothe bukke and hare
And as he priketh North and Est
I telle it yow / hym hadde almest
Bitidde / a sory care
¶ Ther spryngen herbes / grete and smale
The lycorys and Cetewale
And many a clowe gylofre
And Notemuge / to putte in Ale
Wheither it be moyste / or stale
Or for to leye in cofre Page  416 [6-text p 193]
¶ The briddes synge / it is no nay
The sparhauk and the papeiay
That ioye it was to heere
The thrustelcok / made eek hir lay
The wodedowue / vp on a spray
She sang ful loude and cleere
¶ Sire Thopas fil in loue longynge
Al whan he herde / the thrustel synge
And pryked / as he were wood
His faire steede in his prikynge
So swatte / þat men myghte him wrynge
His sydes / were al blood
¶ Sire Thopas eek / so wery was
ffor prikyng on the softe gras
So fiers was his corage
That doun he leyde him in that plas
To make his steede som solas
And yaf hym good forage
¶ O seinte Marie benedicite
What eyleth / this loue at me
To bynde me so soore
Me dremed / al this nyght pardee
An elf queene / shal my lemman be
And slepe vnder my goore
¶ An Elf queene / wol I loue ywis
ffor in this world / no womman is
Worthy to be my make?
In towne
¶ Alle othere wommen I forsake
And to an Elf queene I me take
By dale and eek by downe Page  417 [6-text p 194]
¶ In to his sadel / he clamb anon
And priketh ouer stile and stoon
An Elf queene for tespye
Til he so longe / hadde riden and goon
That he foond / in a pryue woon
The contree of ffairye
so wilde
ffor in that contree was ther noon?
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
Neither wyf ne childe
¶ Til þat ther cam a greet geaunt
His name was / sire Olifaunt
A perilous man of dede
He seyde child by Termagaunt /
But if thou prike / out of myn haunt
Anon I sle thy steede
with mace
¶ Heere is / the queene of ffairye
With harpe / and pipe and symphonye
Dwellynge in this place
¶ The child seyde / Al so moote I thee
Tomorwe / wol I meete with thee
Whan I haue myn Armoure
¶ And yet I hope / par ma fay
That thou shalt with this launcegay
Abyen it ful sowre
Thy mawe
Thyn hauberk / shal I percen / if I may*. [[all over an erasure]]
Er it be fully pryme of day
ffor heere thow shalt be slawe Page  418 [6-text p 195]
¶ Sire Thopas / drow abak ful faste
This geant at hym stones caste
Out of a fel staf slynge
¶ But faire escapeth sire Thopas
And al it was thurgh goddes gras
And thurgh his fair berynge
Yet listeth / lordes / to my tale [folio 156b]
Murier than the Nightyngale
I wol yow rowne
How sir Thopas / with sydes smale
Prikyng ouer hill and dale
Is comen agayn to towne
¶ His murie men / comanded he
To make hym / bothe game and glee
ffor nedes / moste he fighte
With a geaunt with heuedes three
ffor paramour and Iolitee
Of oon / that shoon ful brighte
¶ Do come he seyde / my Mynstrales
And geestours / for to tellen tales
Anon in myn Armynge
Of Romances / that been Roiales
Of Popes / and of Cardinales
And eek of loue likynge
¶ They sette hym first sweete wyn
And Mede eek in a Mazelyn
And Roial spicerye
And Gyngebreed / þat was ful fyn
And lycorys and eek Comyn
With sugre þat is so trye Page  419 [6-text p 196]
¶ He dide / next his white leere
Of clooth of lake / fyn and cleere
A breech / and eek a sherte
And next his sherte an Aketon
And ouer that an haubergeon
ffor percynge of his herte
¶ And ouer that / a fyn hawberk
Was al ywroght of Iewes werk
fful strong it was of plate
And ouer that his cote Armour
As whit as is / a lilye flour
In which / he wol debate
¶ His sheeld / was al / of gold so reed
And ther Inne / was a bores heed
A Charbocle bisyde
And there he swoor / on ale and breed
How þat the geaunt shal be deed
Bityde what bityde
¶ Hise Iambeux were of quyrboilly
His swerdes shethe of Yuory
His helm of laton bright
His sadel was of Rewel boon
His brydel / as the sonne shoon
Or as the moone light
¶ His spere it was / of fyn Ciprees
That bodeth werre / and no thyng pees
The heed / ful sharpe ygrounde
¶ His steede was / al dappull gray
It gooth an Ambil in the way
fful softely and rounde Page  420 [6-text p 197]
In londe
¶ Loo lordes myne / heere is a fit
If ye wol any moore of it
To telle it / wol I fonde

[The Second Fit.]

NOw holde youre mouth par charitee
Bothe knyght and lady free
And herkneth to my spelle
¶ Of batailles / and of Chiualry
And of ladyes / loue drury
Anon I wol yow telle
¶ Men speken of Romances of prys
Of Hornchild / and of Ypotys
Of Beves and of sir Gy
Of sir lybeux and pleyn damour
But sir Thopas / he bereth the flour
Of Roial Chiualry
¶ His goode Steede / al he bistrood
And forth / vpon his wey he rood
As sparcle / out of the bronde
¶ Vp on his Creest He bar a tour [folio 157a]
And ther Inne / stiked a lilie flour
God shilde his cors fro shonde
¶ And for he was / a knyght Auntrous
He nolde slepen / in noon hous
But liggen in his hoode
¶ His brighte helm / was his wonger
And by hym / baiteth his dextrer
Of herbes fyne and goode Page  421 [6-text p 198]
¶ Hym self / drank water of the well
As dide the knyght sire Percyuell
So worly vnder wede
¶ Til on a day
Page  422 [6-text p 199]

¶ Heere the Hoost stynteth Chaucer / of his tale of Thopas.

Na moore of this / for goddes dignitee
Quod oure hoost for thou makest me
So wery / of thy verray lewednesse
That also wisly / god my soule blesse
Min eres aken / of thy drasty speche
Now swich a Rym / the deuel I biteche
This may wel / be Rym dogerel quod he
¶ Why so quod I / why wiltow lette me?
Moore of my tale / than another man
Syn that it is / the beste tale I kan
¶ By god quod he / for pleynly at a word
Thy drasty rymyng / is nat worth a toord
Thou doost noght elles / but despendest tyme
Sire at o word / thou shalt no lenger ryme
Lat se / wher thou kanst tellen aught in geeste
Or telle in prose / somwhat at the leeste
In which ther be som murthe / or som doctryne
¶ Gladly quod I / by goddes sweete pyne
I wol yow telle / a litel thyng in prose
That oghte liken yow / as I suppose
Or elles certes / ye been to daungerous
It is a moral tale vertuous
Al be it take somtyme / in sondry wyse
Of sondry folk as I shal yow deuyse
¶ As thus / ye woot þat euery Euaungelist/
That telleth vs / the peyne of Ihesu crist
Ne seith nat alle thyng as his felawe dooth
But nathelees / hir sentence is al sooth
And alle acorden / as in hire sentence
Al be ther / in hir tellyng difference Page  423 [6-text p 200]
ffor somme of hem seyn moore / and somme seyn lesse
Whan they / his pitous passioun expresse
I meene / of Mark Mathew / Luc and Iohn
But doutelees / hir sentence is all oon
¶ Therfore lordynges alle / I yow biseche [folio 157b]
If þat yow thynke / I varie as in my speche
As thus / though that I telle som what moore
Of prouerbes / than ye han herd bifoore
Comprehended / in this litel tretys heere
To enforce with / theffect of my mateere
And though I / nat the same wordes seye
As ye han herd / yet to yow alle I preye
Blameth me nat for as in my sentence
Shul ye / nowher / fynden difference
ffro the sentence / of this tretys lyte
After the which / this murye tale I write
And therfore / herkneth / what þat I shal seye
And lat me tellen / al my tale I preye
¶ Explicit .
Page  424 [6-text p 201]

¶ Heere bigynneth Chaucers tale of Melibee .

[There are no line-numbers or breaks between the paragraphs in the MS. Tyrwhitt's breaks are kept here to prevent slight differences in the Six Texts throwing out many lines. ‖ stands for a triangular pause-mark in the MS.]

[Ellesmere MS, on leaf 157, back.]

[2157]*. [[Painting of Chaucer on horseback.]]

A Yong man called Melibeus myghty and riche / bigat vp on his wyf that called was Prudence / a doghter which that called was Sophie /.

[2158] Vpon a day bifel þat he / for his desport/ is went in to the feeldes hym to pleye / [2159] his wyf / and eek his doghter / hath he left inwith his hous / of which the dores / weren fast yshette [2160] ¶ thre of hise olde foes / han it espyed and setten laddres / to the walles of his hous / and by wyndowes been entred / [2161] and betten his wyf / and wounded his doghter with fyue mortal woundes in fyue sondry places [2162] ¶ this is to seyn / in hir feet. in hire handes /. in hir erys /. in hir nose /. and in hire mouth and leften hire for deed / and wenten awey

[2163] ¶ Whan Melibeus / retourned was in to his hous / and saugh al this meschief? he lyk a mad man rentynge his clothes / gan to wepe and crie

[2164] ¶ Prudence his wyf / as ferforth as she dorste / bisoghte hym / of his wepyng for to stynte / [2165] but nat for-thy / he gan to crie and wepen euere lenger the moore

[2166] ¶ This noble wyf Prudence / remembred hire / vpon the sentence of Ouide / in his book / that cleped is the remedie of loue ‖ where as he seith / [2167] he is a fool /*. [¶ Ouidius / de remedio amoris.] that destourbeth the mooder to wepen in the deeth of hire child / til she haue wept hir fille / as for a certein tyme [2168] ¶ And thanne / shal man doon his diligence with amyable wordes / hire to reconforte / and preyen hire of Page  425 [6-text p 202] hir wepyng for to stynte [2169] ¶ ffor which reson this noble wyf Prudence / suffred hir housbonde for to wepe and crie / as for a certein space /. [2170] And whan she saugh hir tyme / she seyde hym in this wise ¶ Allas / my lord quod she / why make ye youre self for to be lyk a fool / [2171] for sothe / it aperteneth nat to a wys man / to maken swiche a sorwe / [2172] youre [folio 158a] doghter / with the grace of god shal warisshe and escape / [2173] And al were it so / that she right now were deed? ye ne oughte nat as for hir deeth youre self to destroye [2174] ¶ Senek*. [¶ Seneca] seith / the wise man / shal nat take to greet disconfort for the deeth of his children / [2175] but certes / he sholde suffren it in pacience / as wel / as he / abideth the deeth / of his owene. propre persone

[2176] ¶ This Melibeus / answerde anon and seyde*. [¶ Melibeus] ¶ What man quod he sholde of his wepyng stente / that hath so greet a cause for to wepe? [2177] Ihesu crist*. [¶ Qualiter Ihesus christus fleuit propter mortem lazari] oure lord hym self wepte for the deeth of Lazarus hys freend [2178] ¶ Prudence answerde ‖. Certes wel I woot ‖ Attempree wepyng is no thyng deffended to hym þat sorweful is amonges folk in sorwe / but it is rather graunted hym to wepe [2179] ¶ The Apostle Paul vn-to the*. [¶ Apostolus Pau|lus ad Romanos] Romayns writeth ‖ Man shal reioyse with hem that maken ioye and wepen / with swich folk as wepen [2180] ¶ But though attempree wepyng be ygraunted / outrageous wepyng certes is deffended / [2181] Mesure of wepyng sholde be considered / after the loore þat techeth us Senek*. [¶ Seneca] [2182] ¶ Whan that thy frend is deed quod he / lat nat thyne eyen to moyste been of teeris / ne to muche drye / Al though the teeris come to thyne eyen / lat hem nat falle / [2183] And whan thou hast for-goon thy freend / do dili|gence to gete another freend / and this is moore wysdom / than for to wepe for thy freend which that thou hast lorn / for ther-Inne is no boote / [2184] And therfore / if ye gouerne yow by sapience / put awey sorwe / out of youre herte [2185] ¶ Remembre yow / þat Ihesus Syrak seith*. [¶ Ihesus Syrak]Page  426 [6-text p 203] ¶ A man that is ioyous and glad in herte / it hym con|serueth florissynge in his age / But soothly / sorweful herte / maketh hise bones drye [2186] ¶ He seith eek/ thus / That sorwe in herte / sleeth ful many a man [2187] ¶ Sa|lomon *. [¶ Salomon] seith / That right as Motthes in the shepes flees / anoyeth to the clothes / and the smale wormes to the tree / right so anoyeth sorwe to the herte / [2188] wherfore / vs oghte as wel in the deeth of oure children / as in the losse of oþere goodes temporels haue pacience

[2189] ¶ Remembre yow vp on the pacient Iob /*. [¶ Memorandum de lob] whan he hadde lost his children and his temporeel sub|stance / and in his body endured and receyued ful many a greuous tribulacion; yet seyde he thus [2190] ¶ Oure lord / [le m'a donné; nostre Seigneur] hath biraft it me / right as oure lord hath wold / right so it is doon / blessed be the name of oure lord [2191] ¶ To thise foreseide thynges / answerde Melibeus / vn to his wyf Prudence*. [¶ Melibeus] ¶ Alle thy wordes quod he been sothe / and therwith pro|fitable / but trewely / myn herte is troubled with this sorwe so greuously / that I noot what to doone [2192] ¶ Lat calle quod Prudence thy trewe freendes alle / and thy lynage /*. [¶ Prudence] whiche that been wise / telleth youre cas / and herkneth what they seye in conseillyng and yow gouerne after hire sentence [2193] ¶ Salomon seith / werk alle thy thynges*. [¶ Salomon] by conseil / and thou shalt neuer repente

[2194] ¶ Thanne by the conseil of his wyf Prudence / this Melibeus / leet callen a greet congregacion of folk/. [2195] as surgiens / Phisiciens olde folk and yonge / and somme of hise olde enemys reconsiled as by hir semblaunt to his loue / and in to his grace / [2196] and ther-with-al / ther coomen somme of hise neighebores / that diden hym reuerence / moore for drede than for loue / as it happeth ofte / [2197] ¶ Ther coomen also / ful many subtille flatereres and wise Aduocatz lerned in the lawe /

[2198] And whan this folk / togidre assembled weren / this Melibeus in sorweful wise / shewed hem his cas / Page  427 [6-text p 204] [2199] and by the manere of his [folio 158b] speche / it semed wel / that in herte / he baar a crueel Ire / redy to doon venge|ance vp on hise foes / and sodeynly desired / that the werre sholde bigynne / [2200] but nathelees / yet axed he hire conseil vpon this matiere [2201] ¶ A Surgien by licence and assent of swiche as weren wise / vp roos / and to Melibeus / seyde / as ye may heere

[2202] ¶ Sire quod he / as to vs Surgiens aperteneth / that we do to euery wight the beste that we kan / where as we been withholde / and to oure pacientz that we do no damage / [2203] wherfore it happeth many tyme and ofte / that whan twey men / han euerich wounded oother / oon same surgien heeleth hem bothe / [2204] wherfore / vn to oure Art it is nat pertinent to norice werre ne parties to supporte ‖. [2205] But certes / as to the warisshynge of youre doghter / al be it so / that she perilously be wounded / we shullen do so ententif bisynesse fro day to nyght that with the grace of god / she shal be hool and sound / as soone as is possible [2206] ¶ Almoost / right in the same wise / the Phisiciens answerden / saue that they seyden / a fewe woordes moore / [2207] That right as maladies / been cured by hir contraries ‖ right so / shul men warisshe werre by vengeance [2208] ¶ Hise neighe|bores ful of enuye / hise feyned freendes that semeden reconsiled / and hise flatereres / [2209] maden semblant of wepyng and empeireden and agreggeden muchel of this matiere in preisynge greetly Melibee / of myght / of power / of richesse / and of freendes despisynge / the power of hise Aduersaries / [2210] and seiden outrely that he anon sholde wreken hym on hise foes and bigynne werre

[2211] ¶ Vp roos thanne an Aduocat that was wys / by leue and by conseil of othere that were wise / and seide ‖. [2212] Lordynges / the nede for which we been assembled in this place / is a ful heuy thyng and an heigh matiere / [2213] by cause of the wrong and of the wikkednesse that hath be doon / and eek by reson of the grete damages that Page  428 [6-text p 205] in tyme comynge / been possible to fallen for this same cause / [2214] and eek by reson of the grete richesse and power of the parties bothe / [2215] for the whiche resons / it were a ful greet peril to erren in this matiere [2216] ¶ wherfore / Melibeus this is oure sentence / we conseille yow abouen alle thyng. that right anon / thou do thy diligence in kepynge of thy propre persone / in swich a wise þat thou wante noon espie / ne wacche / thy persone for to saue [2217] ¶ And after that we conseille þat in thyn hous / thou sette sufficeant garnison so that they may / as wel thy body as thyn hous defende [2218] ¶ But certes / for to moeue werre / or sodeynly for to doon vengeaunce / we may nat demen / in so litel tyme / that it were profit|able /. [2219] Wherfore we axen leyser and espace / to haue deliberacion in this cas to deme / [2220] ffor the commune prouerbe seith thus ¶ He that soone deemeth. soone shal*. [¶ Nota de Iudicibus & eorum Iudiciis] repente [2221] And eek men seyn / that thilke Iuge is wys that soone vnderstondeth a matiere and Iuggeth by leyser [2222] ¶ for al be it so that alle tariyng be anoyful / algates / it is nat to repreue in yeuynge of Iuggement ne in vengeance takyng whan it is sufficeant and resonable [2223] ¶ And that shewed oure lord Ihesu crist by en|sample / for whan that the womman / that was taken in Auowtrie was broght in his presence / to knowen / what sholde be doon with hire persone / al be it so that he wiste wel hym self / what that he wolde answere / yet ne wolde he nat answere sodeynly / but he wolde haue deliberacion / and in the ground [folio 159a] he wroot twies / [2224] and by thise causes / we axen deliberacion / and we shal thanne by the grace of god / conseille thee thyng / that shal be profitable /

[2225] ¶ Vp stirten thanne / the yonge folk atones / and the mooste partie of that compaignye scorned the olde wise men and bigonnen to make noyse / and seyden / that [2226] right so / as whil that Iren is hoot men sholden smyte / right so / men sholde wreken hir wronges / while Page  429 [6-text p 206] þat they been fresshe and newe / and with loud voys / they criden werre / werre

[2227] ¶ Vp roos tho / oon of thise olde wise / and with his hand made contenaunce / that men sholde holden hem stille and yeuen hym Audience [2228] ¶ Lordynges quod he / ther is ful many a man / that crieth werre werre / that woot ful litel what werre amounteth [2229] ¶ werre at his bigynnyng hath so greet an entryng and so large / that euery wight may entre whan hym liketh / and lightly fynde werre / [2230] but certes / what ende that shal ther-of bifalle / it is nat light to knowe ‖ [2231] ffor soothly / whan þat werre is ones bigonne / ther is ful many a child vnborn of his mooder / that shal sterue yong by cause of that ilke werre / or elles lyue in sorwe / and dye in wrecchednesse ‖. [2232] And ther fore / er þat any werre bigynne / men moste haue greet conseil and greet deliberacion [2233] ¶ And whan this olde man / wende / to enforcen his tale by resons / wel ny alle atones / bigonne they to rise for to breken his tale / and beden hym ful ofte / hise wordes for to abregge / [2234] ffor soothly / he that precheth to hem / that listen nat heeren hise wordes / his sermon hem anoieth [2235] ¶ ffor Ihesus Syrak seith / that Musik in wepynge is*. [¶ Ihesus Syrak/] anoyous thyng‖. this is to seyn ‖ As muche auailleth to speken bifore folk / to whiche his speche anoyeth / as it is to synge / biforn hym that wepeth ‖. [2236] And this wise man / saugh that hym wanted audience / and al shamefast he sette hym doun agayn [2237] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖ ther*. [¶ Salomon] as thou ne mayst haue noon Audience / enforce thee nat to speke [2238] ¶ I see wel quod this wise man / þat the commune prouerbe is sooth ‖ That good conseil wanteth / whan it is moost [nede]

[2239] ¶ Yet hadde this Melibeus in his conseil / many folk that priuely in his eere conseilled hym certeyn thyng. and conseilled hym the contrarie in general Audience

[2240] Whan Melibeus hadde herd / that the gretteste*. [¶ Melibeus]Page  430 [6-text p 207] partie of his conseil / weren accorded þat he sholde maken werre / anoon / he consented to hir conseillyng and fully affermed hire sentence / [2241] Thanne dame Prudence /*. [¶ Prudence] whan þat she saugh / how that hir housbonde shoope hym for to wreken hym on hise foes / and to bigynne werre / she in ful humble wise / whan she saugh hir tyme / seide to hym thise wordes [2242] ¶ My lord quod she / I yow biseche as hertely as I dar and kan / ne haste yow nat to faste / and for alle gerdons / as yeueth me Audience [2243] ¶ ffor Piers Alfonce seith ¶ who so that dooth to*. [¶ Petrus] that oother good or harm / haste thee nat to quiten it. for in this wise thy freend wole abyde / and thyn enemy shal the lenger lyue in drede [2244] ¶ The prouerbe seith ‖ he hasteth wel that wisely kan abyde ‖ And in wikked haste / is no profit

[2245] This Melibee answerde vn to his wyf Prudence*. [¶ Melibee] ¶ I purpose nat quod he to werke by thy conseil / for many causes and resons ¶ ffor certes / euery wight wolde holde me thanne a fool [2246] ¶ this is to seyn / If I. for thy conseillyng wolde chaungen thynges that been ordeyned and affermed by so manye wyse [2247] ¶ Sec|oundly I seye / that alle wommen been wikke / and noon good of hem alle ¶ ffor of a thousand men seith Salomon /*. [¶ Nota secundum Salomonem] I foond a good man [folio 159b] but certes of alle wommen / good womman foond I neuere [2248] ¶ And also certes / If I gouerned me by thy conseil / it sholde seme that I hadde yeue to thee ouer me the maistrie / and god forbede / that it so weere [2249] ¶ For Ihesus Syrak seith / that if the*. [¶ Ihesus Syrak/] wyf haue maistrie / she is contrarious to hir housbonde [2250] ¶ And Salomon seith ¶ Neuere in thy lyf / to thy*. [¶ Salomon] wyf / ne to thy child / ne to thy freend / ne yeue no power ouer thy self ‖. ffor bettre it were / that thy children aske of thy persone / thynges that hem nedeth / than thou be thy self in the handes of thy children / [2251] ¶ And if I wolde werke by thy conseillyng? Certes / my conseillyng moste som tyme be secree / til it were tyme þat it moste be Page  431 [6-text p 208] knowe and this / ne may noght be [2252. Car il est escript, la genglerie des femmes ne puct riens celler fors ce qu'elle ne scet. [2253] Apres, le philosophre dit, en mauvais conseil les femmes vainquent les hommes: et par ces raisons je ne dois point user de ton conseil. MS Reg. 19 C. vii, in Tyrwhitt, iv. 335. (See Prudence on Reasons 4 & 5, further on.)]

[2254] Whanne dame Prudence / ful debonairly and*. [¶ Prudence] with greet pacience / hadde herd / al that hir housbonde liked for to seye / thanne axed she of hym licence for to speke / and seyde in this wise [2255] ¶ My lord quod she / as to youre firste reson / certes it may lightly been answered ¶ ffor I seye / that it is no folie / to chaunge conseil ‖. whan the thyng is chaunged ¶ or elles / whan the thyng semeth / ootherweyes / than it was biforn [2256] ¶ And mooreouer I seye / that though ye han sworn and bihight to perfourne youre emprise ¶ And nathelees / ye weyue to perfourne / thilke same emprise by Iuste cause / men sholde nat seyn therfore / that ye were a lier ne forsworn [2257] ¶ ffor the book seith / þat the wise man maketh no lesyng whan he turneth his corage to the bettre [2258] ¶ And al be it so / that youre emprise be establissed and ordeyned / by greet multitude of folk / yet thar ye nat accomplice thilke ordinance / but yow like [2259] ¶ ffor the trouthe of thynges / and the profit been rather founden in fewe folk that been wise / and ful of reson / than by greet multitude of folk ther euery man crieth and clatereth / what that hym liketh ¶ Soothly / swich multitude is nat honeste [2260] ¶ As to the seconde reson /. where as ye seyn þat alle wommen been wikke? Saue youre grace / certes ye despisen alle wommen in this wyse / [car il est escript, qui tout desprist, a tous desplaist] [2261] & Senec seith / that who so wole haue sapi|ence *. [¶ Seneca] / shal no man despise but he shal gladly / techen the science that he kan with-outen presumpcion or pride / [2262] And swiche thynges // as he nought ne kan / he shal nat been ashamed to lerne hem and enquere of lasse Page  432 [6-text p 209] folk / than hym self /. [2263] And sire / that ther hath been many a good womman / may lightly be preued / [2264] ¶ ffor certes sire / oure lord Ihesu crist wolde neuere haue descended to be born of a womman / if alle wommen / hadden ben wikke / [2265] And after that for the grete bountee that is in wommen oure lord Ihesu crist whan he was risen fro deeth to lyue / appeered rather to a womman / than to hise Apostles [2266] ¶ And though that salomon seith / that he ne foond neuere womman good / it folweth nat therfore / that alle wommen ben wikke [2267] ffor though that he ne foond no good womman /. certes ful many another man / hath founden / many a womman ful good and trewe [2268] ¶ Or elles per auenture / the entente of salomon was this / that as in souereyn bounte he foond no womman / [2269] this is to seyn / that ther is no wight þat hath souereyn bountee / saue god allone / as he hym self recordeth in hys Euaun|gelie / [2270] ffor ther nys no creature so good / that hym ne wanteth somwhat of the perfeccion of god / that is his maker [2271] ¶ Youre [folio 160a] thridde reson is this ¶ ye seyn / if ye gouerne yow by my conseil / it sholde seme that ye hadde yeue me the maistrie / and the lordshipe ouer youre persone ‖. [2272] sire saue youre grace / it is nat so ‖ ffor if it were so that no man sholde be conseilled / but oonly of hem that hadden lordshipe and maistrie of his persone / men wolden nat be conseilled so ofte ‖ [2273] ffor soothly / thilke man that asketh conseil of a purpos / yet hath he free choys / wheither he wole werke by that conseil or noon [2274] ¶ And as to youre fourthe reson ¶ ther ye seyn þat the Ianglerie of wommen hath hyd thynges that they wiste noght. As who seith / that a womman kan nat hyde that she woot [2275] ¶ sire thise wordes been vnder|stonde of wommen þat been Iangleresses and wikked / [2276] of whiche wommen / men seyn that thre thynges / dryuen a man out of his hous ¶ that is to seyn Smoke /*. [¶ Of .iij. thynges þat dryuen a man out of his hous.] droppyng of Reyn /. and wikked wyues / [2277] and Page  433 [6-text p 210] swiche wommen seith Salomon / þat it were bettre dwelle*. [¶ Salomon] in desert than with a womman that is riotous [2278] ¶ And sire by youre leue / that am nat .I. / [2279] for ye haan ful ofte assayed my grete silence / and my gret pacience. ‖ And eek how wel / that I kan hyde and hele thynges / that men oghte secreely to hyde [2280] ¶ And soothly / as to youre fifthe reson / where as ye seyn / that in wikked con|seil / wommen venquisshe men ¶ god woot thilke reson stant heere in no stede [2281] ¶ ffor vnderstoond now / ye asken conseil to do wikkednesse / [2282] and if ye wole werken wikkednesse / and youre wif restreyneth thilke wikked purpos / and ouercometh yow by reson and by good conseil / [2283] certes youre wyf oghte rather to be preised / than yblamed [2284] ¶ Thus sholde ye vnder|stonde the Philosophre / that seith / In wikked conseil wommen venquisshen hir housbondes [2285] ¶ And ther as ye blamen alle wommen and hir resons ‖ I shal shewe yow by manye ensamples / that many a womman / hath ben ful good / and yet been / and hir conseils ful hoolsome and profitable [2286] ¶ Eek / som men han seyd that the conseillynge of wommen / is outher to deere / or elles to litel of pris [2287] ¶ But al be it so / þat ful many a womman is badde / and hir conseil vile and noght worth / yet han men founde / ful many a good womman / and ful discrete and wise in conseillynge [2288] ¶ Loo Iacob / by*. [¶ Nota de Rebekka] good conseil of his mooder Rebekka wan the benyson of Ysaak / his fader / and the lordshipe ouer alle hise bretheren [2289] ¶ Iudith by hire good conseil deliuered the Citee of*. [¶ de Iudith] Bethulie in which she dwelled / out of the handes of Olofernus / that hadde it biseged and wolde haue al destroyed it [2290] ¶ Abygail deliuered Nabal hir housbonde fro*. [¶ de Abygail] Dauid the kyng that wolde haue slayn hym / and apaysed the Ire of the kyng by hir wit and by hir good conseil|lyng [2291] ¶ Hester / enhaunced greetly by hir good con|seil *. [¶ de Hestere] the peple of god / in the regne of Assuerus the kyng [2292] ¶ and the same bountee in good conseillyng of Page  434 [6-text p 211] many a good womman may men telle [2293] ¶ And moore ouer / whan oure lord hadde creat Adam oure forme fader / he seyde in this wise / [2294] It is nat good / to been a man alloone / make we to hym an helpe semblable to hym self / [2295] ¶ Heere may ye se / that if that wommen were nat goode and hir conseils goode & profitable / [2296] oure lord god of heuene / wolde neuere han wroght hem / ne called hem / help of man but rather confusion of man [2297] ¶ And ther seyde oones a clerk in [folio 160b] two vers ‖ what is bettre / than gold? Iaspre ¶ What is bettre than Iaspre? wisedoom / [2298] ¶ And what is better than wisedoom? womman ‖. And what is bettre than a good womman? no thyng [2299] ¶ And sire by manye of othre resons / may ye seen that manye wommen been goode / and hir conseils goode and profitable ‖ [2300] And therfore sire / if ye wol triste to my conseil / I shal restoore yow / youre doghter / hool and sound / [2301] And eek/ .I. wol do to yow so muche / that ye shul haue honour in this cause /

[2302] Whan Melibee hadde herd the wordes of his*. [¶ Melibee] wyf Prudence / he seyde thus [2303] ¶ I se wel that the word of Salomon is sooth ‖. he seith that wordes þat*. [¶ Salomon] been spoken discreetly by ordinaunce / been honycombes / for they yeuen swetnesse to the soule / and hoolsomnesse to the body [2304] ¶ And wyf / by cause of thy sweete wordes / and eek for I haue assayed and preued thy grete sapience / and thy grete trouthe / I wol gouerne me by thy conseil / in alle thyng /

[2305] Now sire quod dame Prudence / and syn ye*. [¶ Prudence] vouche sauf / to been gouerned by my conseil / I wol enforme yow / how ye shul gouerne youre self/ in chesynge of youre conseillours [2306] ¶ Ye shul first/ in alle youre werkes / mekely / biseken to the heighe god / þat he wol be youre conseillour /. [2307] And shapeth yow / to swich entente / that he yeue yow conseil and confort as taughte Thobie his sone [2308] ¶ At alle tymes / thou shalt blesse*. [¶ Thobias]Page  435 [6-text p 212] god and praye hym / to dresse thy weyes / and looke / þat alle thy conseils been in hym for eueremoore [2309] Seint*. [¶ Sanctus Iacobus] Iame eek seith ‖. If any of yow haue nede of sapience / axe it of god [2310] ¶ And afterward / thanne shul ye taken conseil of youre [self] and examyne wel youre thoghtes / of swich thyng as yow thynketh þat is best for youre profit / [2311] And thanne shul ye dryue fro youre herte. thre*. [¶ Of .iij. thynges þat been contra|riouse to good conseil] thynges that been contrariouse to good conseil / [2312] That is to seyn / Ire / coueitise / and hastifnesse

[2313] ¶ ffirst he þat axeth conseil of hym self / certes / he moste been with-outen Ire / for manye causes / [2314] the firste is this ¶ he þat hath greet Ire and wratthe in hym self / he weneþ alwey that he may do thyng that he may nat do [2315] ¶ And secoundely / he that is Irous and wrooth / he ne may nat wel deme / [2316] and he þat may nat wel deme / may nat wel conseille [2317] ¶ The thridde is this / that he þat is Irous and wrooth as seith Senec ne may nat speke / but he blame thynges / [2318]*. [¶ Seneca] and with hise viciouse wordes / he stireth oother folk / to Angre and to Ire [2319] ¶ And eek sire / ye moste dryue coueitise out of youre herte / [2320] ffor the Apostle seith*. [¶ Apostolus] ¶ That coueitise is roote of alle harmes ‖ [2321] And trust wel / that a coueitous man ne kan noght deme ne thynke / but oonly to fulfille the ende of his coueitise / [2322] and certes / that ne may neuere been accompliced / for euere / the moore habundaunce þat he hath of richesse / the moore he desireth [2323] ¶ And sire / ye moste also / dryue out of youre herte hastifnesse / for certes / [2324] ye ne may nat deeme for the beste a sodeyn thought / that falleth in youre herte / but ye moste auyse yow on it ful ofte / [2325] ffor as ye herde biforn / The commune prouerbe is this ¶ That he þat soone deemeth / soone repenteth.

[2326] ¶ Sire / ye ne be nat alwey in lyke disposicion [2327] for certes / som thyng þat somtyme semeth to yow / that it is good for to do / Another tyme it semeth to yow the contrarie / Page  436 [6-text p 213]

[2328] whan ye han taken conseil of youre self / and han deemed by good deliberacion swich thyng/ as you list best/ [2329] ¶ Thanne rede I yow / that ye kepe it/ [folio 161a] secree / [2330] biwrey nat youre conseil to no persone / but if so be that ye wenen sikerly / that thurgh youre biwreyyng youre condicion / shal be to yow the moore profitable [2331] ¶ ffor Ihesus Syrak seith / Neither to thy*. [¶ Ihesus Syrak/] foo ne to thy frend discouere nat thy secree ne thy folie / [2332] for they wol yeue yow Audience and lookynge / to supportacion in thy presence / and scorne thee in thyn Absence [2333] ¶ Another clerk seith / That scarsly shaltou fynden any persone / that may kepe conseil sikerly [2334] ¶ The book seith / whil þat thou kepest thy conseil in thyn herte / thou kepest it in thy prison / [2335] and whan thou biwreyest thy conseil to any wight / he holdeth thee in his snare [2336] ¶ And therfore yow is bettre to hyde youre conseil in youre herte / than praye hem / to whom ye han biwreyed youre conseil / that he wole kepen it cloos and stille [2337] ¶ ffor Seneca seith ¶ If so be /*. [¶ Seneca] þat thou ne mayst nat thyn owene conseil hyde? how darstou prayen any oother wight thy conseil sikerly to kepe [2338] ¶ But nathelees / If thou wene sikerly / þat the biwreiyng of thy conseil to a persone / wol make thy condicion to stonden in the bettre plyt/ . thanne shaltou tellen hym thy conseil in this wise [2339] ¶ ffirst thou*. [¶ How a man shall tellen his conseil] shalt make no semblant wheither thee were leuere pees or werre / or this / or that . ne shewe hym nat thy wille and thyn entente / [2340] ffor trust wel / þat comenli thise conseillours been flatereres / [2341] namely the conseillours of grete lordes / [2342] for they enforcen hem alwey / rather to speken plesante wordes / enclynynge to the lordes lust . than wordes þat been trewe or profitable [2343] ¶ And therfore / men seyn / þat the riche man hath seeld good con|seil but if he haue it of hym self [2344] ¶ And after that thou shalt considere thy freendes and thyne enemys ‖ [2345] And as touchynge thy freendes thou shalt con|sidere Page  437 [6-text p 214] / wiche of hem / þat been moost feithful and moost wise / and eldest and most approued in conseillyng . [2346] And of hem shalt thou aske thy conseil / as the caas requireth

[2347] ¶ I seye / þat first / ye shul clepe to youre con|seil youre freendes that been trewe [2348] ¶ ffor Salomon*. [¶ Salomon] seith ¶ That right as the herte of a man deliteth in sauour þat is soote / right so / the conseil of trewe freendes / yeueth swetenesse to the soule; [2349] He seith also ¶ ther may no thyng be likned to the trewe freend ‖ [2350] for certes gold ne siluer / beth nat so muche worth as the goode wyl of a trewe freend [2351] ¶ And eek he seith / that a trewe freend / is a strong deffense / who so þat hym fyndeth / certes / he fyndeth a greet tresour [2352] ¶ Thanne shul ye eek considere / if that youre trewe freendes / been discrete and wise / ¶ ffor the book seith / Axe alwey thy conseil / of hem þat been wise / [2353] And by this same reson / shul ye clepen to youre conseil of youre freendes that been of age / swiche as han seyn and been expert in manye thynges / and been approued in conseillynges [2354] ¶ ffor the book seith / that in the olde men is the Sapience / and in longe tyme the prudence [2355] ¶ And Tullius seith / that grete thynges / ne been nat ay accompliced by strengthe / ne by deliuernesse of body / but by good conseil / by Auctoritee of persones and by science / the whiche thre thynges / ne been nat fieble by age / but certes / they enforcen and en|creescen day by day / [2356] And thanne / shul ye kepe this / for a general reule ¶ ffirst shul ye clepen to youre conseil / a fewe of youre freendes that been especiale / [2357] for Salomon seith ¶ Manye freendes haue thou /*. [¶ Nota secundum Salomonem] but among a thousand chese thee oon / to be thy conseil|lour / [2358] ffor al be it so / that thou first ne [folio 161b] telle thy conseil / but to a fewe / thou mayst afterward telle it to mo folk if it be nede / [2359] but looke alwey / that thy conseillours / haue thilke thre condicions þat I haue seyd Page  438 [6-text p 215] bifore / that is to seyn / that they be trewe / wise / and of oold experience [2360] ¶ And werke nat alwey in euery nede / by oon counseillour allone ¶ ffor somtyme bihooueth it to been conseilled by manye ‖ [2361] ffor Salomon seith*. [¶ Salomon] ¶ Saluacion of thynges / is / where as ther been manye conseillours

[2362] Now / sith I haue toold yow / of which folk / ye sholde been counseilled / now wol I teche yow which conseil / ye oghte to eschewe [2363] ¶ ffirst ye shul eschue the conseillyng of fooles ‖ ffor Salomon seith / taak no con|seil *. [¶ Salomon] of a fool / for he ne kan noght conseille / but after his*. [¶ Of conseillours þat a man oghte to eschue] owene lust and his affeccion [2364] ¶ The book seith / that the propretee of a fool is this ¶ he troweth lightly harm of euery wight / and lightly troweth alle bountee in hym self [2365] ¶ Thou shalt eek eschue / the conseillyng of flatereres / swiche as enforcen hem / rather to preise youre persone by flaterye than for to telle yow / the sooth|fastnesse of thynges

[2366] ¶ Wherfore Tullius seith ¶ Amonges alle the*. [¶ Tullius] pestilences that been in freendshipe / the gretteste is flaterie / And therfore is it moore nede þat thou eschue and drede flatereres / than any oother peple [2367] ¶ The book seith / thou shalt rather drede and flee / fro the sweete wordes / of flaterynge preiseres / than fro the egre wordes of thy freend / that seith thee thy sothes ‖ [2368] Salomon seith / that the wordes of a flaterere / is a snare to chacche with Innocentz [2369] ¶ He seith also / that he þat speketh to his freend / wordes of swetnesse and of plesaunce / setteth a net biforn his feet to cacche hym [2370] ¶ And therfore seith Tullius / Enclyne nat thyne eres to flatereres / ne taaketh no conseil of the wordes of flaterye ‖. [2371] And Caton seith ¶ Auyse thee wel / and*. [¶ Cato] eschue the wordes / of swetnesse and of plesaunce [2372] ¶ And eek thou shalt eschue / the conseillyng of thyne olde enemys / that been reconsiled [2373] ¶ The book seith /. that no wight retourneth saufly / in-to the Page  439 [6-text p 216] grace of his olde enemy [2374] ¶ And Isope seith / Ne trust nat to hem / to whiche thou hast had som tyme werre or enemytee / ne telle hem nat thy conseil [2375] ¶ And Seneca telleth the cause why ¶ It may nat be seith he /*. [¶ Seneca] that where greet fyr / hath longe tyme endured / that ther ne dwelleth som vapour of warmnesse [2376] And therfore seith Salomon ¶ In thyn olde foo trust neuere*. [¶ Salomon] [2377] ¶ ffor sikerly / though thyn enemy / be reconsiled and maketh thee chiere of humylitee / and lowteth to thee with his heed ne trust hym neuere [2378] ¶ ffor certes / he maketh thilke feyned humilitee / moore for his profit than for any loue of thy persone / by cause that he deem|eth / to haue victorie ouer thy persone / by swich feyned contenance / the which victorie / he myghte nat wynne / by strif or werre [2379] And Peter Alfonce seith /. Make no*. [¶ Petrus Alfonce] felawshipe / with thyne olde enemys ‖ ffor if thou do hem bountee / they wol peruerten it / in to wikkednesse [2380] And eek thou most eschue / the conseillyng of hem / that been thy seruantz and beren thee greet reuerence / for perauenture / they doon it moore / for drede than for loue [2381] ¶ And therfore / seith a Philosophre / in this*. [¶ Philosophus] wise ‖. Ther is no wight parfitly trewe / to hym þat he to soore dredeth [2382] ¶ And Tullius seith ‖ Ther nys no*. [¶ Tullius] myght so greet of any Emperour / that longe may endure / but if he haue / moore lo [folio 162a] ue of the peple / than for drede [2383] ¶ Thou shalt also eschue / the conseiling of folk that been dronkelewe ‖ for they kan no conseil hyde [2384] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖ Ther is no priuetee / ther as*. [¶ Salomon] regneth dronkenesse [2385] ¶ Ye shul also / han in suspect the conseillyng of swich folk. as conseille yow . a thyng priuely / and conseille yow / the contrarie openly [2386] ¶ ffor Cassidorie seith /. that it is a manere sleighte to*. [¶ Cassidorus] hyndre / whan he sheweth to doon a thyng openly / and werketh priuely the contrarie [2387] ¶ Thou shalt also / haue in suspect. the conseillyng of wikked folk ‖. ffor the book seith / The conseillyng of wikked folk. is alwey ful Page  440 [6-text p 217] of fraude ‖. [2388] And Dauid seith ¶ blisful is that man /*. [¶ Dauid] þat hath nat folwed / the conseilyng of sherewes [2389] ¶ Thou shalt also eschue / the conseillyng of yong folk . for hir conseil is nat rype

[2390] NOw sire / sith I have shewed yow / of which folk ye shul take youre conseil / and of which folk ye shul folwe the conseil? [2391] now wol I teche yow / how ye shal examyne youre conseil / after the doctrine of Tullius [2392] ¶ In the examynynge thanne of youre conseillour*. [¶ how a man shal examine his conseillours after the doctrine of Tullius] ye shul considere manye thynges [2393] ¶ Alderfirst thou shalt considere / þat in thilke thyng that thou purposest / and vpon what thyng thou wolt haue conseil / þat verray trouthe / be seyd and conserued / this is to seyn / telle trewely thy tale [2394] ¶ ffor he that seith fals / may nat wel be conseilled / in that cas of which he lieth [2395] ¶ And after this / thou shalt considere the thynges þat acorden to that thou purposest / for to do / by thy conseil|lours if reson accorde therto /. [2396] And eek / if thy myght may atteine ther-to / And if the moore part and the bettre part of thy conseillours acorde ther-to / or noon [2397] ¶ Thanne shaltou considere / what thyng shal folwe / after hir conseillyng. as hate / pees / werre / grace / profit or damage / and manye othere thynges [2398] ¶ Thanne / of alle thise thynges / thou shalt chese the beste / and weyue alle othere thynges [2399] ¶ Thanne shaltow considere of what roote is engendred the matiere of thy conseil / and what fruyt it may conserue and engendre [2400] ¶ Thou shalt eek considere alle thise causes / fro whennes they been sprongen [2401] ¶ And whan ye han examyned youre conseil / as I have seyd / and which partie is the bettre and moore profitable / and hast approued it by manye wise folk and olde [2402] ¶ thanne shaltou considere / it thou mayst parfourne it and maken of it a good ende [2403] ¶ ffor certes reson wol nat that any man / sholde bigynne a thyng. but if he myghte / parfourne it as hym oghte [2404] ¶ Ne no wight sholde Page  441 [6-text p 218] take vp on hym so heuy a charge / that he myghte nat bere it [2405] ¶ ffor the prouerbe seith ‖. he that to muche*. [¶ prouerbe] embraceth / distreyneth litel [2406] And Caton seith*. [¶ Cato] ¶ Assay to do swich thyng. as thou hast power to doon / lest that the charge oppresse thee / so soore / that thee bihoueth / to weyue thyng that thou hast bigonne / [2407] And if so be / þat thou be in doute / wheither thou mayst parfourne a thing or noon / chese rather / to suffre than bigynne [2408] ¶ And Piers Alphonce seith ¶ If*. [¶ Petrus Alfonce] thou hast myght to doon a thyng of which thou most repente thee / it is bettre / nay than ye [2409] ¶ this is to seyn / that thee is bettre / holde thy tonge stille / than for to speke [2410] ¶ Thanne may ye vnderstonde / by strenger resons / that if thou hast po [folio 162b] wer / to parfourne a werk of which thou shalt repente / thanne is it bettre / that thou suffre than bigynne [2411] ¶ wel seyn they þat defenden euery wight to assaye any thyng of which he is in doute / wheither he may parfourne it or noon ‖ [2412] And after / whan ye han examyned youre conseil / as I haue seyd biforn / and knowen wel / that ye may par|fourne youre emprise / conferme it thanne sadly til it be at an ende

[2413] NOw is it reson and tyme þat I shewe yow / whanne and wherfore / that ye may chaunge youre conseil|lours / with-outen youre repreue [2414] ¶ Soothly / a man*. [¶ How a man may chaungen hise conseillours with-outen repreue] may chaungen his purpos and his conseil if the cause cesseth / or whan a newe caas bitydeth [2415] ¶ ffor the lawe seith that vpon thynges þat newely bityden / bihoueth newe conseil [2416] ¶ And senec/ seith ‖. If thy conseil*. [¶ Seneca] is comen / to the eeris of thyn enemy chaunge thy conseil [2417] ¶ Thou mayst also chaunge thy conseil / If so be / that thou mayst fynde / that by errour / or by oother cause / harm or damage may bityde [2418] ¶ Also / if thy conseil be dishonest. or ellis cometh of dishoneste cause / chaunge thy conseil ‖. [2419] ffor the lawes seyn ¶ that alle bihestes that been dishoneste / been of no value Page  442 [6-text p 219] [2420] ¶ And eek/ If so be / þat it be inpossible / or may nat goodly be parfourned or kept

[2421] ¶ And take this / for a general reule / that euery conseil þat is affermed so strongly / that it may nat be chaunged for no condicion that may bityde ¶ I seye / þat thilke conseil is wikked.

[2422] This Melibeus / whanne he hadde herd the doctrine of*. [¶ Melibeus] his wyf dame Prudence / answerde in this wyse [2423] ¶ Dame quod he as yet in to this tyme / ye han wel and couenablely taught me as in general / how I shal gouerne me in the chesynge / and in the withholdynge of my conseillours ‖ [2424] but now wolde I fayn / that ye wolde condescende in especial / [2425] and telle me / how liketh yow / or what semeth yow by oure conseillours / that we han chosen in oure present nede

[2426] My lord quod she / I biseke yow in al hum|blesse *. [¶ Prudence] / that ye wol nat wilfully replie agayn my resons / ne distempre youre herte / thogh I speke thyng that yow displese ‖ [2427] ffor god woot that as in myn entente I speke it for youre beste / for youre honour / and for youre profite eke / [2428] And soothly I hope / that youre be|nyngnytee / wol taken it in pacience [2429] ¶ Trusteth me wel quod she / that youre conseil as in this caas ne sholde nat as to speke properly / be called a conseillyng but a mocion or a moeuyng of folye / [2430] in which conseil / ye han erred in many a sondry wise

[2431] ¶ ffirst / and forward / ye han erred in thassem|blynge of youre conseillours ‖ [2432] ffor ye sholde first haue cleped a fewe folk / to youre conseil / and after ye myghte han shewed it to mo folk / if it hadde been nede [2433] ¶ But certes / ye han sodeynly cleped to youre con|seil a greet multitude of peple ful chargeant and ful anoyous for to heere [2434] ¶ Also / ye han erred / for there as ye sholden oonly haue cleped to youre conseil youre trewe frendes olde and wise / [2435] ye han ycleped straunge folk / and yong folk. false flatereres / and enemys Page  443 [6-text p 220] reconsiled / and folk / þat doon yow reuerence withouten loue [2436] ¶ And eek also / ye haue erred / for ye han broght with yow to youre conseil / Ire / coueitise / and hastifnesse / [2437] the whiche thre thinges been con|trariouse to euery conseil / honeste and profitable / [2438] the whiche thre / ye han nat anientissed or destroyed hem / neither in youre self ne in youre conseillours as yow oghte [2439] ¶ Ye han erred also / for ye han shewed [folio 163a] to youre conseillours / youre talent and youre affeccion / to make werre anon / and for to do vengeance / [2440] they han espied by youre wordes to what thyng ye been enclyned ‖ [2441] And therfore / han they rather conseilled yow to youre talent than to youre profit [2442] ¶ Ye han erred also / for it semeth / þat it suffiseth / to han been con|seilled by thise conseillours oonly / and wiþ litel Auys / [2443] where-as in so greet and so heigh a nede / it hadde been necessarie mo conseillours / and moore deliberacion to parfourne youre emprise [2444] ¶ Ye han erred also / for ye han nat examyned youre conseil / in the forseyde manere ne in due manere as the caas requireth [2445] ¶ Ye han erred also / for ye han nat maked no diuision bitwixe youre conseillours ¶ this is to seyn / bitwixen youre trewe freendes / and youre feyned conseillours; [2446] ne ye han nat knowe the wil of youre trewe freendes / olde and wise [2447] but ye han cast alle hire wordes in an hochepot and enclyned youre herte to the moore partie / and to the gretter nombre / and there been ye condescended [2448] ¶ And sith ye woot wel þat men shal alwey / fynde a gretter nombre of fooles / than of wise men / [2449] and therfore / the conseils that been at congregacions and mul|titudes of folk. there as men take moore reward to the nombre / than to the sapience of persones / [2450] ye se wel / that in swiche conseillynges / fooles han the maistrie [2451] Melibeus answerde agayn / and seyde / I graunte wel that*. [¶ Melibeus] I haue erred ‖ [2452] but there as thou hast toold me heer|biforn / þat he nys nat to blame þat chaungeth hise con|seillours Page  444 [6-text p 221] in certein caas / and for certeine Iuste causes [2453] ¶ I am al redy to chaunge my conseillours / right as thow wolt deuyse / [2454] ¶ The prouerbe seith /. that*. [¶ Prouerbe] for to do synne is mannyssh / but certes / for to perseuere longe in synne / is werk of the deuel

[2455] ¶ To this sentence answereth anon dame Pru|dence *. [¶ Prudence] and seyde [2456] ¶ Examineth quod she youre con|seil / and lat vs see / the whiche of hem / han spoken most resonablely / and taught yow best conseil ‖. [2457] And for as muche as þat the examynacion is necessarie / lat vs bigynne at the surgiens and at the phisiciens / that first speeken in this matiere [2458] ¶ I sey yow / that the surgiens and phisiciens / han seyd yow in youre conseil discreetly / as hem oughte [2459] ¶ And in hir speche seyd ful wisely / that to the office of hem aperteneth to doon to euery wight honour and profit / and no wight for to anoye / [2460] and in hir craft / to doon greet diligence vn-to the cure of hem / whiche þat they han in hir gouern|aunce / [2461] And sire / right as they han answered wisely and discreetly / [2462] right so rede I that they been heighly and souereynly gerdoned for hir noble speche / [2463] and eek for they sholde do / the moore ententif bisynesse in the curacion of youre doghter deere ‖ [2464] ffor al be it so / þat they been youre freendes / therfore shal ye nat suffren / that they serue yow for noght / [2465] but ye oghte the rather gerdone hem and shewe hem youre largesse [2466] ¶ And as touchynge the proposicion which that the Phisiciens encreesceden in this caas / this is to seyn / [2467] that in maladies / that oon contrarie is warisshed by another contrarie /. [2468] I wolde fayn knowe / hou ye vnderstonde this text / and what is youre sentence [2469] ¶ Certes quod Melibeus / I.*. [¶ Melibeus] vnderstonde it in this wise [2470] ¶ that right as they han doon me a contrarie / right so / sholde I doon hem another ‖ [2471] ffor right as they han [folio 163b] venged hem on me / and doon me wrong; Right so / shal I venge me vpon hem / Page  445 [6-text p 222] and doon hem wrong . [2472] and thanne haue I cured oon contrarie by another

[2473] Lo. lo quod dame Prudence / how lightly is*. [¶ Prudence] euery man enclined to his owene desir / and to his owene plesaunce [2474] ¶ Certes quod she the wordes of the Phisiciens / ne sholde nat han been vnderstonden in thys wise ‖. [2475] ffor certes / wikkednesse / is nat contrarie to wikkednesse / ne vengeance to vengeaunce / ne wrong to wrong · but they been semblable [2476] ¶ And ther|fore / o vengeaunce / is nat warisshed by another venge|aunce / ne o wroong by another wroong. [2477] but euerich of hem encreesceth and aggreggeth oother [2478] ¶ But certes / the wordes of the Phisiciens / sholde been vnderstonden in this wise [2479] ¶ ffor good and wikked|nesse / been two contraries and pees and werre / venge|aunce and suffraunce / discord and accord and manye othere thynges ‖ [2480] But certes / wikkednesse / shal be warisshed by goodnesse / discord by accord / werre by pees / and so forth of othere thynges [2481] And heer-to accordeth Seint Paul the Apostle / in manye places [2482] ¶ He*. [¶ Paulus Apos|tolus] seith Ne yeldeth nat harm for harm / ne wikked speche / for wikked speche / [2483] But do wel / to hym þat dooth thee harm / and blesse hym þat seith to thee harm [2484] ¶ And in manye othere places he amonesteth pees and accord [2485] ¶ But now wol I speke to yow / of the con|seil / which þat was yeuen to yow / by the men of lawe / and the wise folk [2486] that seyden alle by oon accord / as ye han herd bifore [2487] ¶ That ouer alle thynges / ye sholde doon youre diligence to kepen youre persone / and to warnestoore youre hous [2488] ¶ And seyden also that in this caas / yow oghten for to werken ful auysely and with greet deliberacion [2489] ¶ And sire / as to the firste point. that toucheth to the kepyng of youre persone / [2490] ye shul vnderstonde / that he þat hath werre shal eueremoore / mekely and deuoutly / preyen biforn alle thynges / [2491] that Ihesus crist of his grete mercy wol Page  446 [6-text p 223] han hym in his proteccion / and been his souereyn helpyng at his nede ‖. [2492] ffor certes / In this world ther is no wight that may be conseilled ne kept sufficeantly with|outen the kepyng of oure lord Ihesu crist [2493] ¶ To this sentence accordeth the prophete dauid / that seith ‖ [2494]*. [¶ Dauid propheta] If god ne kepe the Citee / in ydel waketh he that it kepeth [2495] Now sire / thanne shul ye committe / the kepyng of youre persone to youre trewe freendes / that been approued and knowe / [2496] and of hem / shul ye axen helpe / youre persone for to kepe ¶ ffor Caton seith ¶ If thou hast*. [¶ Cato] nede of help / axe it of thy freendes ‖ [2497] ffor ther nys noon so good a Phisicien / as thy trewe freend [2498] ¶ And after this / thanne shul ye kepe yow fro alle straunge folk / and fro lyeres / and haue alwey in suspect hire compaignye [2499] ¶ ffor Piers Alfonce seith ‖ Ne*. [¶ Petrus Alfonce] taak / no compaignye by the weye of straunge men but if so be þat thou haue knowe hym of a lenger tyme [2500] ¶ And if so be / that he be falle in-to thy compaignye par|auenture withouten thyn assent ./ [2501] enquere thanne / as subtilly as thou mayst of his conuersacion / and of his lyf bifore / and feyne thy wey ‖. seye that thou goost thider as thou wolt nat go / [2502] and if he bereth a spere / hoold thee on the right syde / and if he bere a swerd / hoold thee on his lift syde. [2503] ¶ And after this / thanne / shul ye kepe yow wisely from all swich manere peple as I haue seyd bifore / And hem and hir conseil eschewe / [2504] ¶ And after this / thanne shul ye kepe yow in swich manere / [2505] that for any presumpcion of youre strengthe / that ye ne dispise nat ne acounte [folio 164a] nat the myght of youre Aduersarie / so litel / that ye lete / the kepyng of youre persone / for youre presumpcion / [2506] for euery wys man / dredeth his enemy [2507] ¶ And Salomon seith ¶ weleful is he / that of alle hath drede /*. [¶ Salomon] [2508] for certes / he that thurgh the hardynesse of his herte / and thurgh the hardynesse of hym self / hath to greet presumpcion / hym shal yuel bityde [2509] ¶ Thanne / Page  447 [6-text p 224] shul ye eueremoore countrewayte embusshementz and alle espiaille [2510] ¶ ffor senec seith ¶ That the wise man /*. [¶ Seneca] he dredeth harmes / . . . . .*. [no gap] [2511] ne he ne falleth in-to perils / that perils eschueth ‖ [2512] And al be it so / þat it seme that thou art in siker place / yet shaltow alwey do thy diligence in kepynge of thy persone [2513] ¶ this is to seyn Ne be nat necligent to kepe thy persone / nat oonly / for thy gretteste enemys / but for thy leeste enemy [2514] [Car seneque dit il appartient a homme bien enseigne qui[l] doubte son petit ennemy [MS Reg. 19 C vii folio 133a] ] [2515] ¶ Ouyde*. [¶ Ouidius] seith ‖ that the litel wesele / wol slee the grete bole / and the wilde hert [2516] ¶ And the book / seith ‖ A litel thorn / may prikke a greet kyng ful soore ‖. And an hound / wol holde the wilde boor [2517] ¶ But nathelees / I sey nat thou shalt be coward / that thou doute / ther / wher as is no drede [2518] ¶ The book seith / that somme folk. han greet lust to deceyue / but yet they dreden hem to be de|ceyued [2519] ¶ Yet shaltou drede / to been empoisoned And kepe yow / from the compaignye of Scorneres [2520] ¶ ffor the book seith; with scorneres make no compaignye / but flee hire wordes as venym

[2521] ¶ Now as to the seconde point ¶ Where as youre wise conseillours conseilled yow to warnestoore youre hous / with gret diligence [2522] ¶ .I. wolde fayn knowe / how that ye vnderstonde / thilke wordes / and what is youre sentence

[2523] Melibeus answerde and seyde ¶ Certes I vnder|stande *. [¶ Melibeus] it in this wise ¶ That I shal warnestoore myn hous / with toures / swiche as han Castelles / and othere manere edifices / and Armure and Artelries / [2524] by whiche thynges / I may my persone and myn hous so kepen and deffenden that myne enemys / shul been in drede / myn hous for to Approche

[2525] TO this sentence / answerde anon Prudence ‖.*. [¶ Prudence] Warnestooryng quod she of heighe toures and of grete edifices / [appartient aucunes fois à orgueil. [2526] L'en fait les tours et les grans édifices (Le Ménagier, i. 209)] with grete Page  448 [6-text p 225] costages and with greet trauaille / and whan that they been accompliced / yet be they nat worth a stree / but if they be defended by trewe freendes that been / olde and wise [2527]*. [¶ Nota / of the strongeste garny|sone that may be.] ¶ And vnderstoond wel / that the gretteste and strongeste garnyson / that a riche man may haue / as wel to kepen his persone as hise goodes; is / [2528] that he be biloued / amonges hys subgetz and with hise neighebores [2529] ¶ ffor*. [¶ Tullius] thus seith Tullius ¶ That ther is a manere garnyson / that no man may venquysse ne disconfite / and that is / [2530] a lord to be biloued of hise Citezeins / and of his peple

[2531] NOw sire / as to the thridde point. where as youre olde / and wise conseillours seyden ¶ That yow ne oghte nat sodeynly ne hastily proceden in this nede / [2532] but that yow oghte purueyen and apparaillen yow in this caas with greet diligence and greet deliberacion [2533] ¶ trewely / I trowe that they seyden right wisely and right sooth [2534] ¶ ffor Tullius seith / In euery*. [¶ Tullius] nede / er thou bigynne it / Apparaille thee with greet diligence [2535] ¶ Thanne seye I / that in vengeance takyng In werre / in bataille / and in warnestooryng [2536] er thow bigynne / .I. rede / þat thou apparaille thee ther to / and do it with greet deliberacion; [2537] [folio 164b] ffor Tullius seith ¶ The longe apparaillyng biforn the bataille /*. [¶ Tullius] maketh short victorie ‖. [2538] And Cassidorus seith ¶ The*. [¶ Cassidorus] garnyson is stronger / whan it is longe tyme auysed

[2539] But now lat vs speken / of the conseil that was accorded by youre neighebores / swiche as doon yow reuerence withouten loue / [2540] youre olde enemys recon|siled / youre flatereres / [2541] that conseilled yow cer|teyne thynges priuely / and openly / conseilleden yow the contrarie [2542] ¶ The yonge folk also / that conseilleden yow to venge yow / and make werre anon [2543] ¶ And certes sire / as I haue seyd biforn / ye han greetly erred / to han cleped / swich manere folk to youre conseil / [2544] which conseillours been ynogh repreued by the resons aforeseyd / [2545] but nathelees / lat vs now descende to Page  449 [6-text p 226] the special ¶ Ye shuln first procede / after the doctrine of Tullius [2546] ¶ Certes / the trouthe of this matiere / or of this conseil / nedeth nat diligently enquere / [2547] for it is wel wist whiche they been / that han doon to yow this trespas and vileynye / [2548] and how manye trespassours and in what manere / they han to yow doon / al this wrong and all this vileynye [2549] ¶ And after this thanne / shul ye examyne the seconde condicion / which that the same Tullius / addeth in this matiere [2550] ¶ ffor Tullius put a thyng. which that he clepeth consentynge/this is to seyn ‖. [2551] who been they and how manye / [Et quelx ilz sont] that consenten to thy conseil / in thy wilfulnesse / to doon hastif vengeance [2552] ¶ And lat vs considere also who been they and how manye been they / and whiche been they / that consenteden to youre Aduersaries [2553] ¶ And certes / as to the firste poynt It is wel knowen / whiche folk been they / that consenteden / to youre hastif wilful|nesse / [2554] for trewely / alle tho that conseilleden yow / to maken sodeyn werre / ne been nat youre freendes [2555] ¶ Lat vs now considere / whiche been they / that ye holde so greetly youre freendes as to youre persone ‖ [2556] ffor al be it so / that ye be myghty and riche / certes / ye ne been nat but allone / [2557] for certes / ye ne han no child but a doghter / [2558] ne ye ne han bretheren ne cosyns germayns / ne noon ooþer neigh kynrede / [2559] wherfore that youre enemys for drede sholde stinte / to plede with yow / or to destroye youre persone [2560] ¶ Ye knowen also that youre richesses / mooten been dispended / in diuerse parties / [2561] and whan þat euery wight hath his part. they ne wollen taken but litel reward to v[e]nge thy deeth ‖. [2562] But thyne enemys / been thre / and they han manie children / bretheren / cosyns / and oother ny kynrede / [2563] And though so were that thou haddest slayn of hem .ijo. or .iije. yet dwellen ther ynowe to wreken hir deeth / and to sle thy persone ‖. [2564] And though so be that youre kynrede be moore siker and stedefast. than Page  450 [6-text p 227] the kyn of youre aduersarie ‖ [2565] yet nathelees youre kynrede / nys but a fer kynrede / they been / but litel syb to yow / [2566] and the kyn of youre enemys been ny syb to hem / And certes / as in that hir condicion / is bet than youres [2567] ¶ Thanne / lat vs considere also / if the conseillyng of hem þat conseilleden yow / to taken sodeyn vengeance / wheither it accorde to reson; [2568] And certes / ye knowe wel nay ‖ [2569] for as by right and reson / ther may no man taken vengeance on no wight / but the Iuge that hath the Iurisdiccion of it [2570] whan it is graunted hym / to take thilke vengeance hastily or at|temprely as the lawe requireth [2571] ¶ And yet moore ouer / of thilke word / that Tullius clepeth consentynge /. [2572] thou shalt considere / if thy myght and [folio 165a] thy power/ may consenten and suffise / to thy wilfulnesse / and to thy conseillours; [2573] And certes / thou mayst wel seyn / that nay [2574] ¶ ffor sikerly / as for to speke proprely / we may do no thyng. but oonly swich thyng as we may doon rightfully; [2575] And certes rightfully ne mowe ye take no vengeance / as of youre propre Auctoritee [2576] ¶ thanne mowe ye seen / that youre power ne consenteth nat ne accordeth nat with youre wilfulnesse [2577] ¶ Lat vs now examyne the thridde point that Tullius clepeth Consequent [2578] ¶ Thou shalt vnderstonde that the vengeance that thou purposest for to take / is the conse|quent ‖. [2579] And ther-of / folweth another vengeance / peril / and werre / and othere damages with-oute nombre / of whiche / we be nat war / as at this tyme [2580] ¶ And as touchynge the fourthe point. that Tullius clepeth en|gendrynge; [2581] thou shalt considere / that this wrong which that is doon to thee / is engendred of the hate of thyne enemys / [2582] and of the vengeance takynge / vpon that wolde engendre another vengeance / and muchel sorwe and wastynge of richesses as I seyde

[2583] ¶ Now sire / as to the point that Tullius clepeth causes / which that is the laste point. [2584] thou Page  451 [6-text p 228] shalt vnderstonde / þat the wrong that thou hast receyued / hath certeine causes / [2585] whiche þat clerkes clepen Oriens and Efficiens / and Causa longinqua / and Causa propinqua /. this is to seyn / the fer cause and the ny cause [2586] ¶ The fer cause / is almyghty god / that is cause of alle thynges [2587] ¶ The neer cause / is thy thre enemys [2588] ¶ The cause Accidental / was hate [2589] ¶ The cause material / been the fyue woundes of thy doghter [2590] ¶ The cause formal / is the manere of hir werkynge that broghten laddres and cloumben in at thy wyndowes; [2591] The cause final / was for to sle thy doghter / It letted nat in as muche as in hem was [2592] ¶ But for to speken of the fer cause / as to what ende they shul come / or what shal finally bityde of hem in this caas / ne kan .I. nat deme ‖. but by coniectynge and by supposynge [2593] ¶ for we shul suppose / that they shul come to a wikked ende /. [2594] by cause / that the book*. [¶ In libro decre|talium] of decrees seith ‖. seelden or with greet peyne / been causes ybroght / to good ende / whanne they been baddely bigonne

[2595] ¶ Now sire / If men wolde axe me / why that god suffred men to do yow this vileynye; Certes / I kan nat wel answere / as for no soothfastnesse [2596] ¶ ffor thapostle seith / that the sciences and the Iuggementz of*. [¶ Apostolus] oure lord god almyghty been ful depe / [2597] ther may no man comprehende ne serchen hem suffisantly / [2598] ¶ Nathelees / by certeyne presumpcions and coniectynges / I holde and bileeue [2599] that god / which that is ful of Iustice and of rightwisnesse hath suffred this bityde by Iuste cause resonable ‖.

[2600] Thy name is Melibee / this is to seyn / a man that drynketh hony [2601] ¶ Thou hast ydronke so muchel hony of sweete temporeel richesses / and delices and hon|ours of this world / [2602] that thou art dronken / and hast forgeten / Ihesu crist thy creatour / [2603] thou ne hast nat doon to hym swich honour and reuerence as thee oughte / [2604] ne thou ne hast nat wel ytaken kepe / to Page  452 [6-text p 229] the wordes of Ouide ¶ That seith ‖ [2605] vnder the hony*. [¶ Ouidius] of the goodes of the body / is hyd the venym / that sleeth the soule [2606] ¶ And salomon seith ¶ If thou hast*. [¶ Salomon] founden hony / ete of it that suffiseth / [2607] for if thou ete of it out of mesure / thou shalt spewe / and be nedy and poure / [2608] And perauenture / Crist hath thee in despit/ and hath turned awey fro thee his face and hise eeris of Misericorde [2609] ¶ And also / he hath [folio 165b] suffred / that thou hast been punysshed in the manere that thow hast ytrespassed [2610] ¶ Thou hast doon synne / agayn oure lord crist. [2611] for certes. the .iij. enemys of man|kynde / that is to seyn / the flessh / the feend and the world /. [2612] thou hast suffred hem / entre in to thyn herte wilfully by the wyndowes of thy body / [2613] and hast nat defended thy self suffisantly agayns hire assautes / and hire temptacions / so / that they han wounded thy soule / in .v. places / [2614] this is to seyn / the deedly synnes that been entred in-to thyn herte / by thy .v. wittes ‖. [2615] And in the same manere / oure lord crist hath woold and suffred / that thy .iij. enemys been entred / in-to thyn hous by the wyndowes / [2616] and han ywounded thy doghter in the foreseyde manere

[2617] ¶ Certes quod Melibee / I se wel that ye en|force *. [¶ Melibee] yow muchel by wordes / to ouercome me / in swich manere that I shal nat / venge me of myne enemys [2618] shewynge me the perils and the yueles / that myghten falle of this vengeance ‖ [2619] But who so wolde considere in alle vengeances the perils and yueles þat myghte sewe of vengeance takynge / [2620] a man wolde neuere take vengeance / and that were harm / [2621] for by the venge|ance takynge / been the wikked men disseuered fro the goode men [2622] ¶ And they that han wyl to do wikked|nesse / restreyne hir wikked purpos / whan they seen the punyssynge and chastisynge of the trespassours [2623] [Et a ce Respont dame prudence certes dist elle Ie t'ottroye que de vengence vient molt de maulx Et de biens;Page  453 [6-text p 230] [2624] Mais vengence n'appartient pas a vn chascun fors seulement aux iuges Et a ceulx qui ont la iuridicion sur les malfaitteurs. (MS Reg. 19 C. vii, leaf 136.)] [2625] ¶ And yet seye I moore /. that right as a singuler persone / synneth / in takynge vengeance of another man ./ [2626] right so / synneth the Iuge / if he do no vengeance of hem / that it han disserued ‖ [2627] ffor Senec seith*. [¶ Seneca] thus ¶ That maister he seith is good / that proueth shrewes [2628] ¶ And as Cassidore seith ¶ A man dredeth to do*. [¶ Cassidorus] outrages / whan he woot and knoweth / that it displeseth to the Iuges / and souereyns [2629] ¶ Another seith ¶ The Iuge þat dredeth to do right. maketh men shrewes ‖. [2630] And Seint Paule the Apostle / seith in his epistle /*. [¶ Paulus Apos|tolus ad Romanos] whan he writeth vn-to the Romayns; That the Iuges beren nat the spere / with-outen cause / [2631] but they beren it to punysse the shrewes and mysdoeres / and to defende the goode men [2632] ¶ If ye wol thanne take vengeance of youre enemys / ye shul retourne / or haue youre recours to the Iuge that hath the Iurisdiccion vp-on hem / [2633] and he shal punysse hem / as the lawe axeth and requireth

[2634] A quod Melibee / this vengeance / liketh me*. [¶ Melibee] no thyng [2635] ¶ I bithenke me now and take heede / how ffortune / hath norissed me fro my childhede / and hath holpen me / to passe many a stroong paas [2636] ¶ Now wol I assayen hire trowynge with goddes helpe / that she shal helpe me / my shame for to venge

[2637] Certes quod Prudence ¶ If ye wol werke by my*. [¶ Prudence] conseil / ye shul nat assaye ffortune by no wey / [2638] ne ye shul nat lene or bowe / vnto hire after the word of Senec [2639] ¶ ffor thynges / that been folily doon / and*. [¶ Seneca] that been in hope of ffortune / shullen neuere come to good ende ‖. [2640] And as the same Senec seith ¶ The moore cleer and the moore shynyng that ffortune is / the moore brotil / and the sonner broken she is ‖ [2641] trusteth nat in hire / for she nys nat stidefast ne stable [2642] for whan thow trowest to be moost seur and siker of hire Page  454 [6-text p 231] helpe she wol faille thee / and deceyue thee [2643] ¶ And where as ye seyn that ffortune hath norissed yow fro youre childhede /. [2644] I seye / that [folio 166a] in so muchel / shul ye / the lasse truste in hire and in hir wit ‖. [2645] ffor senec*. [¶ Seneca] seith ‖ what man that is norissed by ffortune / she maketh hym a greet fool [2646] ¶ Now thanne / syn ye desire / and axe vengeance / and the vengeance / that is doon after the lawe and bifore the Iuge / ne liketh yow nat [2647] And the vengeance that is doon in hope of ffortune is peril|ous and vncertein [2648] Thanne haue ye noon oother remedie / but for to haue youre recours / vnto the souereyn Iuge that vengeth / alle vileynyes and wronges /. [2649] And he shal venge yow / after that hym self witnesseth / where as he seith ‖. [2650] leueth the vengeance to me / and I shal do it

[2651] Melibee answerde ‖. If I ne venge me nat. of*. [¶ Melibee] the vileynye that men han doon to me [2652] .I. sompne or warne hem / that han doon to me that vileynye and alle othere / to do me another vileynye [2653] ¶ ffor it is writen ¶ If thou take no vengeance of an oold vileynye / thou somp|nest thyne Aduersaries to do thee a newe vileynye [2654] ¶ And also / for my suffrance / men wolden do to me so muchel vileynye / that I myghte neither bere it ne sus|teene / [2655] and so sholde I been put and holden ouer lowe [2656] ¶ ffor men seyn / In muchel suffrynge / shul manye thynges falle vn-to thee / whiche / thou shalt nat mowe suffre

[2657] Certes quod Prudence .I. graunte yow that*. [¶ Prudence] ouer muchel suffrance nys nat good / [2658] but yet ne folweth it nat ther-of / that euery persone / to whom men doon vileynye take of it vengeance / [2659] for that aper|teneth and longeth al oonly to the Iuges / for they shul venge the vileynyes and iniuries ‖. [2660] And ther-fore / tho two Auctoritees / that ye han seyd aboue / been oonly vnderstonden in the Iuges / [2661] for whan they suffren ouer muchel the wronges and the vileynyes to be doon Page  455 [6-text p 232] withouten punysshynge / [2662] they sompne nat a man al oonly / for to do newe wronges / but they comanden it [2663] ¶ Also a wys man seith / that the Iuge that cor|recteth nat the synnere comandeth and biddeth hym do synne [2664] ¶ And the Iuges and souereyns myghten in hir land so muchel suffre of the shrewes and mysdoeres / [2665] that they sholden by swich suffrance by proces of tyme / wexen of swich power and myght / that they sholden putte out the Iuges and the souereyns / from hir places / [2666] and atte laste maken hem lesen hire lordshipes

[2667] ¶ But lat vs now putte / that ye haue leue to venge yow / [2668] I seye / ye been nat of myght and power / as now to venge yow / [2669] for if ye wole maken comparison / vn-to the myght of youre Aduersaries / ye shul fynde in manye thynges / that I haue shewed yow er this / that hire condicion / is bettre than youres [2670] ¶ And therfore seye I that it is good as now / that ye suffre and be pacient

[2671] ¶ fforthermoore / ye knowen wel / that after the comune sawe / it is a woodnesse / a man / to stryue with a strenger / or a moore myghty man / than he is hym self ‖. [2672] And for to stryue with a man of euene strengthe / that is to seyn / with as strong a man as he; it is peril /. [2673] And for to stryue with a weyker man / it is folie [2674] ¶ And therfore / sholde a man flee stryuynge / as muchel as he myghte [2675] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖ It is a*. [¶ Salomon] greet worshipe to a man / to kepen hym fro noyse and stryf [2676] ¶ And if it so bifalle or happe / that a man of gretter myght and strengthe / than thou art. do thee grevaunce / [2677] studie / and bisye thee rather to stille / the [folio 166b] same greuaunce / than for to venge thee ‖ [2678] ffor Senec seith ‖ That he putteth hym in greet peril / that*. [¶ Seneca] stryueth with a gretter man / than he is hym self [2679] ¶ And Caton seith / If a man of hyer estaat or degree / or*. [¶ Cato] moore myghty than thou / do thee anoy or greuance / suffre hym / [2680] for he that oones hath greued thee / Page  456 [6-text p 233] another tyme / may releeue thee and helpe; [2681] ¶ Yet sette I caas / ye haue bothe myght and licence / for to venge yow / [2682] .I. seye that ther be ful manye thynges / that shul restreyne yow / of vengeance takynge / [2683] and make yow / for to enclyne to suffre / and for to han pacience / in the thynges / that han been doon to yow [2684] ¶ ffirst and foreward / if ye wole considere the defautes / that been in youre owene persone / [2685] for whiche defautes / god hath suffred yow haue this tribulacion / as I haue seyd yow heer biforn [2686] ¶ ffor the Poete seith That we oghte paciently taken the tribu|lacions*. [¶ Poeta] that comen to vs whan we thynken and consideren / that we han disserued to haue hem [2687] ¶ And Seint Gregorie seith ‖ That whan a man considereth wel the*. [¶ Gregorius] nombre of hise defautes / and of his synnes /. [2688] the peynes and the tribulacions that he suffreth / semen / the lesse vn-to hym [2689] And in as muche / as hym thynk|eth / hise synnes moore heuy and greuous / [2690] in so muche / semeth his peyne the lighter / an[d] the esier vn-to hym [2691] ¶ Also / ye owen to enclyne and bowe youre herte / to take the pacience of oure lord Ihesu crist ‖ As seith seint Peter in hise Epistles [2692] ¶ Ihesu crist he*. [¶ Petrus in epis|tolis] seith / hath suffred for vs and yeuen ensample to euery man / to folwe and sewe hym / [2693] for he dide neuere synne / ne neuere cam ther a vileynous word out of his mouþ / [2694] whan men cursed hym / he cursed hem noght. And whan men betten hym / he manaced hem noght. [2695] ¶ Also / the grete pacience / which the seintes that been in Paradys / han had in tribulacions that they han ysuffred with-outen hir desert or gilt. [2696] oghte muchel stiren yow to pacience [2697] ¶ fforther|moore / ye sholde enforce yow / to haue pacience / [2698] considerynge / that the tribulacions of this world / but litel while endure / and soone passed been and goone [2699] ¶ And the ioye that a man / seketh to haue by pacience in tribulacions / is perdurable / after that the Page  457 [6-text p 234] Apostle seith in his epistle [2700] ¶ The ioye of god / he*. [¶ Apostolus in epistola] seith is perdurable / that is to seyn euerelastynge [2701] ¶ Also troweþ and bileueth stedefastly / that he nys nat wel ynorissed ne wel ytaught that kan nat haue pacience / or wol nat receyue pacience; [2702] ffor Salomon seith*. [¶ Salomon] ¶ That the doctrine and the wit of a man / is knowen by pacience [2703] ¶ And in another place he seith ¶ that he that is pacient. gouerneth hym by greet prudence [2704] ¶ And the same Salomon seith The angry and wrathful man / maketh noyses / And the pacient man atempreth hem and stilleth [2705] ¶ He seith also / It is moore worth to be pacient than for to be right strong. [2706] And he that may haue the lordshipe of his owene herte / is moore to preyse / than he that by his force or strengthe taketh grete Citees [2707] ¶ And therfore / seith Seint Iame in his Epistle ¶ That pacience / is a greet vertu of*. [¶ Iacobus in epis|tola] perfeccion

[2708] ¶ Certes quod Melibee /. I graunte yow Dame*. [¶ Melibee] Prudence / that pacience / is a greet vertu of perfeccion / [2709] but euery man may nat haue the perfeccion þat ye seken / [2710] ne I nam nat of the nombre / of right par|fite men / [2711] for myn [folio 167a] herte / may neuere been in pees / vn-to the tyme it be venged / [2712] And al be it so that it was greet peril to myne enemys / to do me a vileynye / in takynge vengeance vp-on me /. [2713] yet tooken they noon heede of the peril / but fulfilleden / hir wikked wyl and hir corage [2714] ¶ And therfore / me thynketh men oghten nat repreue me / though I putte me in a litel peril for to venge me / [2715] And though .I. do a greet excesse / that is to seyn / that I venge oon outrage by another

[2716] A quod dame Prudence / ye seyn youre wyl /*. [¶ Prudence] and as yow liketh / [2717] but in no caas of the world / a man sholde nat doon outrage ne excesse / for to vengen hym [2718] ¶ ffor Cassidore seith ‖ That as yuele dooth*. [¶ Cassidorus] he that vengeth hym by outrage / as he that dooth the Page  458 [6-text p 235] outrage ‖. [2719] And therfore / ye shul venge yow / after the ordre of right / that is to seyn by the lawe / and noght by excesse ne by outrage [2720] ¶ And also / If ye wol venge yow of the outrage of youre Aduersaries in oother manere than right comandeth / ye synnen; [2721] And therfore seith Senec ‖. That a man shal neuere vengen shrewednesse / by shrewednesse [2722] ¶ And if ye seye / that right axeth / a man to defenden violence by violence / and fightyng by fightyng? [2723] Certes / ye seye sooth whan the defense is doon anon with-outen Interualle or with-outen tariyng or delay [2724] for to deffenden hym / and nat for to vengen hym; [2725] ¶ And it bihoueth / that a man putte swich attemperance in his deffense; [2726] that men haue no cause ne matiere / to repreuen hym that deffendeth hym of excesse and outrage / for ellis were it agayn reson [2727] ¶ Pardee / ye knowen wel / that ye maken no deffense as now / for to deffende yow but for to venge yow / [2728] and so sheweth it that ye han no wyl to do youre dede attemprely ‖. [2729] And therfore / me thynketh that pacience is good ‖ ffor Salomon*. [¶ Salomon] seith ¶ That he that is nat pacient shal haue greet harm

[2730] Certes quod Melibee / I graunte yow / that*. [¶ Melibee] whan a man is inpacient and wrooth / of that þat toucheth hym noght and that aperteneth nat vn-to hym / though it harme hym / it is no wonder ‖ [2731] ffor the lawe seith ‖ That he is coupable that entremetteth or medleth / with swych thyng as aperteneth nat vn-to hym [2732] ¶ And Salomon seith ‖ That he that entremetteth hym of the*. [¶ Salomon] noyse or strif / of another man /.is lyk to hym / that taketh an hound by the eris ‖ [2733] ffor right as he that taketh a straunge hound by the eris / is outherwhile / biten with the hound [2734] Right in the same wise is it reson / that he haue harm / that by his inpacience / medleth hym / of the noyse of another man / where-as it aperteneth nat vn-to hym [2735] ¶ But ye knowen wel / that this dede / that Page  459 [6-text p 236] is to seyn / my grief and my disese / toucheth me right ny ‖. [2736] And therfore / though I be wrooth and in|pacient. it is no merueille / [2737] And sauynge youre grace / I kan nat seen / that it myghte greetly harme me / though I tooke vengeaunce / [2738] for I am richer / and moore myghty than myne enemys been / [2739] And wel knowen ye / that by moneye and by hauynge grete posses|sions / been alle the thynges of this world gouerned [2740] ¶ And Salomon seith ¶ That alle thynges / obeyen to*. [¶ Salomon'] moneye /.

[2741] Whan Prudence / hadde herd hir housbonde*. [¶ Prudence] auanten hym of his richesse and of his moneye / dispreis|ynge the power of hise Aduersaries / she spak / and seyde in this wise [2742] ¶ Certes / deere sire I graunte yow that ye been riche and myghty / [2743] and that the richesses been goode / to hem þat han hem wel ygeten hem / and wel konne vsen hem ‖. [2744] ffor [folio 167b] right as the body of a man / may nat lyuen with-oute the soule / namoore may it lyue / with-outen temporeel goodes / [2745] And for rich|esses / may a man gete hym grete freendes [2746] ¶ And therfore seith Pamphilles ¶ If a netherdes doghter seith*. [¶ Pamphilles] he / be riche / she may chesen of a thousand men / [lequel quelle veult pour mary (MS Reg. 19 C. vii, lf 140)] [2747] for of a thousand men / oon wol nat forsaken hire ne refusen hire [2748] ¶ And this Pamphilles seith also ¶ If thow be right happy /. that is to seyn / If thou be right riche / thou shalt fynde a greet nombre of felawes and freendes ‖. [2749] And if thy ffortune change / that thou wexe poure / fare|wel / freendshipe and felaweshipe / [2750] for thou shalt be al alloone with-outen any compaignye / but if it be / the compaignye of poure folk [2751] ¶ And yet seith / this Pamphilles moreouer ¶ That they that been thralle and bonde of lynage shullen been maad worthy and noble by the richesses [2752] ¶ And right so / as by richesses / ther comen manye goodes /. right so by pouerte come ther manye harmes and yueles /. [2753] for greet pouerte con|streyneth Page  460 [6-text p 237] a man / to do manye yueles /. [2754] And ther|fore / clepeth Cassidore / pouerte / the mooder of Ruyne /*. [¶ Cassidorus] [2755] that is to seyn / the mooder of ouerthrowynge or fallynge doun [2756] ¶ And therfore seith Piers Alfonce ‖.*. [¶ Petrus Alfonee] Oon of the gretteste Aduersitees of this world is / [2757] whan a free man / by kynde or by burthe is constreyned by pouerte to eten the Almesse of his enemy [2758] ¶ And the same seith Innocent in oon of hise bookes ‖. he seith /*. [¶ Innocencius] that sorweful and myshappy / is the condicion of a poure beggere / [2759] for if he axe nat his mete / he dyeth for hunger /. [2760] And if he axe / he dyeth for shame / And algates necessitee constreyneth hym to axe [2761] ¶ And therfore seith Salomon ‖ That bet it is to dye / than*. [¶ Salomon] for to haue swich pouerte; [2762] ¶ And as the same Salo|mon seith ¶ Bettre it is to dye of bitter deeth than for to lyuen / in swich wise [2763] ¶ By thise resons / that I haue seid vn-to yow / and by manye othere resons that I koude seye? / [2764] I graunte yow / that richesses been goode to hem / that geten hem wel / and to hem that wel vsen tho richesses [2765] ¶ And therfore wol I shewe yow / hou ye shul haue yow / and how ye shul bere yow in gaderynge of richesses / and in what manere / ye shul vsen hem

[2766] ¶ ffirst ye shul geten hem with-outen greet desir / by good leyser sekyngly / and nat ouer hastily / [2767] ffor a man that is to desirynge to gete richesses / abaundoneth hym first to thefte / and to alle other yueles [2768] ¶ And therfore seith Salomon ¶ He that hasteth*. [¶ Salomon] hym to bisily / to wexe riche shal be noon Innocent [2769] ¶ He seith also /. that the richesse that hastily cometh to a man / soone and lightly / gooth and passeth fro a man [2770] ¶ but that richesse / that cometh litel and litel wexeth alwey and multiplieth [2771] ¶ And sire / ye shul geten richesses / by youre wit and by youre trauaille vn-to youre profit. [2772] and that with-outen wrong or harm doynge / to any oother persone [2773] ¶ ffor the lawe Page  461 [6-text p 238] seith / that ther maketh no man himseluen riche / if he do harm to another wight ‖ [2774] This is to seyn / that nature deffendeth and forbedeth by right that no man make hym-self riche / vn-to the harm of another persone [2775] ¶ And Tullius seith ‖ þat no sorwe / ne no drede*. [¶ Tullius] of deeth / ne no thyng that may falle vn-to a man / [2776] is so muchel agayns nature / as a man to encressen his owene profit to the harm of another man ‖ [2777] And though the grete men [folio 168a] and the myghty men geten richesses moore lightly than thou /. [2778] yet shaltou nat been ydel ne slow to do thy profit. for thou shalt in alle wise flee ydel|nesse [2779] ¶ ffor Salomon seith /. that ydelnesse / techeth*. [¶ Salomon] a man to do manye yueles [2780] ¶ And the same Salomon seith ‖ That he that trauailleth and bisieth hym to tilien his land / shal eten breed [2781] but he that is ydel / and casteth hym to no bisynesse ne occupacion / shal falle in-to pouerte / and dye for hunger [2782] ¶ And he that is ydel and slow / kan neuere fynde couenable tyme for to doon his profit. [2783] ffor ther is a versifiour seith / that*. [¶ Vnde versifi|cator] the ydel man excuseth hym in wynter / by cause of the grete coold and in somer / by encheson of the heete ‖. [2784] ffor thise causes seiþ Caton ‖. waketh and enclyneth*. [¶ Cato] nat yow ouer muchel / for to slepe / for ouer muchel reste norisseth and causeth manye vices ‖. [2785] And therfore / seith Seint Ierome ‖. Dooth somme goodes / that the deuel /*. [¶ Sanctus Ieron|imus] which is oure enemy / ne fynde yow nat vnocupied ‖. [2786] ffor the deuel ne taketh nat lightly vn-to his werk|ynge swiche as he fyndeth occupied in goode werkes

[2787] ¶ Thanne thus / In getynge richesses / ye mosten flee ydelnesse ‖. [2788] And afterward ye shul vse the richesses / whiche ye haue geten by youre wit and by youre trauaille / [2789] in swich a manere / that men holde nat yow / to scars ne to sparynge ne to fool large / that is to seyn / ouer large a spendere / [2790] for right as men blamen an Auaricious man / by cause / of his scarsetee and chyngerie / [2791] In the same wise is he to blame Page  462 [6-text p 239] that spendeth ouer largely ‖. [2792] And therfore seith Caton ¶ Vse he seith / thy richesses that thou hast geten*. [¶ Cato] [2793] in swich a manere / that men haue / no matiere ne cause / to calle thee / neiþer wrecche ne chynche / [2794] for it is a greet shame to a man / to haue a pouere herte and a riche purs [2795] ¶ He seith also / the goodes that thou hast ygeten / vse hem by mesure / that is to seyn / spende hem mesurably / [2796] for they that folily / wasten and despenden / the goodes that they han? [2797] whan they han namoore propre of hir owene / they shapen hem to take the goodes of another man [2798] ¶ I seye thanne / that ye shul fleen Auarice / [2799] vsynge youre richesses / in swich manere / that men seye nat þat youre richesses been yburyed / [2800] but þat ye haue hem in youre myght and in youre weeldynge [2801] ¶ ffor a wys man / repreueth the Auaricious man / and seith thus / in two vers [2802] ¶ Wherto and why / burieth a man hise*. [¶ Vnde versifi|cator] goodes by his grete Auarice / and knoweth wel that nedes moste he dye / [2803] for deeth is the ende of euery man / as in this present lyf [2804] ¶ And for what cause / or encheson ioyneth he hym / or knytteth he hym / so faste vn-to hise goodes / [2805] that alle hise wittes mowen nat disseueren hym / or departen hym from hise goodes / [2806] and knoweth wel / or oghte knowe / that whan he is deed / he shal no thyng bere with hym / out of this world [2807] ¶ And ther-fore seith seint Augustyn ‖ That*. [¶ Augustinus] the Auaricious man is likned vn-to helle / [2808] that the moore it swelweth / the moore desir it hath to swelwe and deuoure / [2809] And as wel / as ye wolde eschewe / to be called an Auaricious man / or chynche / [2810] as wel sholde ye kepe yow and gouerne yow / in swich a wise / that men calle yow nat fool large [2811] ¶ Therfore seith Tullius ‖. The goodes he seith of thyn hous / ne sholde*. [¶ Tullius] nat been hyd / ne kept so cloos [folio 168b] but that they myghte been opened by pitee and debonairetee [2812] ¶ that is to seyn / to yeuen part to hem that han greet nede /. [2813] Page  463 [6-text p 240] ne thy goodes / shullen nat been so opene / to been euery mannes goodes [2814] ¶ Afterward / in getynge of youre richesses / and in vsynge hem / ye shul alwey / haue thre thynges in youre herte /. [2815] that is to seyn / Oure lord god / Conscience / and good name [2816] ¶ ffirst / ye shul haue god in youre herte / [2817] and for no richesse / ye shullen do no thyng. which may in any manere displese god / that is youre creatour and makere [2818] ¶ ffor after the word of Salomon ¶ It is bettre to haue a litel good*. [¶ Salomon] with the loue of god / [2819] than to haue / muchel good and tresour / and lese the loue of his lord god [2820] ¶ And the prophete seith ‖ That bettre it is / to been a*. [¶ Propheta] good man and haue litel good and tresour / [2821] than to been holden a shrewe / and haue grete richesses [2822] ¶ And yet seye I ferthermoore / that ye sholde alwey doon youre bisynesse to gete yow richesses / [2823] so that ye gete hem with good conscience [2824] ¶ And thapostle*. [¶ Apostoius] seith ‖. that ther nys thyng in this world / of which / we sholden haue so greet ioye / as whan oure Conscience bereth vs good witnesse [2825] ¶ And the wise man seith ‖ The*. [¶ Sapiens] substance of a man is ful good / whan synne is nat in mannes conscience [2826] ¶ Afterward in getynge of youre richesses / and in vsynge of hem / [2827] yow moste haue greet bisynesse and greet diligence / that youre goode name / be alwey kept and conserued ‖. [2828] ffor salo|mon *. [¶ Salomon] seith /. that bettre it is / and moore it auailleth a man to haue a good name / than for to haue grete richesses? [2829] And therfore / he seith in another place ¶ Do greet diligence seith Salomon / in kepyng of thy freend / and of thy goode name / [2830] for it shal lenger abide with thee / than any tresour / be it neuer so precious [2831] ¶ And certes he sholde nat be called a gentil man / that after god and good conscience / alle thynges left. ne dooth his diligence and bisynesse / to kepen his good name [2832] ¶ And Cassidore seith ¶ That it is signe of gentil*. [¶ Cassidorus] herte? whan a man loueth and desireth to han a good name Page  464 [6-text p 241] [2833] ¶ And therfore seith Seint Augustyn ¶ That ther*. [¶ Augustinus] been two thynges / that arn necessarie and nedefulle / [2834] and that is good Conscience and good loos / [2835] þat is to seyn / good Conscience / to thyn owene persone inward / and good loos for thy neighebore outward /. [2836] And he that trusteth hym so muchel in his goode conscience / [2837] that he displeseth / and setteth at noght his goode name or loos / and rekketh noght though he kepe nat his goode name / nys but a crueel cherl /

[2838] Sire / now haue I shewed yow / how ye shul do in getynge richesses / and how / ye shullen vsen hem / [2839] and I se wel / that for the trust that ye han in youre richesses / ye wole moeue werre and bataille [2840] ¶ I conseille yow / that ye bigynne no werre / in trust of youre richesses / for they ne suffisen noght werres to mayn|tene [2841] ¶ And therfore / seith a Philosophre ¶ That*. [¶ Philosophus] man / that desireth / and wole algates han werre / shal neuere haue suffisaunce / [2842] for the richer that he is / the gretter despenses moste he make / if he wole haue wor|shipe and victorie [2843] ¶ And Salomon seith ‖. That the*. [¶ Salomon] gretter richesses that a man hath / the mo despendours he hath [2844] ¶ And deere sire / al be it so / that for youre richesses / ye mowe haue muchel folk [2845] yet bihoueth it nat. ne it is nat good to bigynne werre / where as ye mowe in oother manere / haue pees vn-to youre worshipe and [folio 169a] profit [2846] ¶ ffor the victories of batailles that been in this world / lyen nat in greet nombre or multitude of the peple / ne in the vertu of man / [2847] but it lith in the wyl / and in the hand of oure lord god almyghty [2848] ¶ And therfore / Iudas Machabeus / which was goddes knyght. [2849] whan he sholde fighte agayn his aduersarie that hadde a greet nombre / and a gretter mul|titude of folk / and strenger than was this peple of Macha|bee /. [2850] yet he reconforted his litel compaignye / and seyde right in this wise [2851] ¶ Als lightly quod he / may oure lord god almyghty yeue victorie to a fewe folk Page  465 [6-text p 242] as to many folk. [2852] for the victorie of a bataile comth nat by the grete nombre of peple / [2853] but it come / from oure lord god of heuene [2854] ¶ And deere sire / for as muchel / as ther is no man certein / if he be worthy / that god yeue hym victorie [ne plus que il est certain se il est digne de l'amour de Dieu (Le Ménagier, i. 226)] or naught /. After that Salomon seith / [2855] therfore / euery man sholde greetly*. [¶ Salomon] drede werres to bigynne / [2856] ¶ And by cause / that in batailles / fallen manye perils / [2857] and happeth outher while / that as soone is the grete man slayn as the litel man /. [2858] And as it is writen / in the seconde book of*. [¶ In libro Regum] kynges The dedes of batailles been auenturouse / and no thyng certeyne / [2859] for as lightly is oon hurt with a spere as another ‖. [2860] And for ther is gret peril in werre / therfore / sholde a man flee and eschue werre / in as muchel as a man may goodly ‖. [2861] ffor Salomon*. [¶ Salomon] seith /. He that loueth peril shal falle in peril

[2862] After that Dame Prudence / hadde spoken in*. [¶ Melibee] this manere / Melibee answerde and seyde [2863] ¶ I see wel dame Prudence that by youre faire wordes / and by youre resons that ye han shewed me / that the werre liketh yow no thyng. [2864] but I haue nat yet herd youre con|seil / how I shal do in this nede

[2865] Certes quod she I conseille yow / that ye*. [¶ Prudence] accorde with youre aduersaries / and that ye haue pees with hem [2866] ¶ ffor Seint Iame seith / in hise epistles*. [¶ Sanctus Iacobus in epistolis] ¶ That by concord and pees / the smale richesses wexen grete / [2867] and by debaat and discord / the grete richesses fallen doun [2868] ¶ And ye knowen wel that oon of the gretteste and moost souereyn thyng. that is in this world / is vnytee and pees [2869] ¶ And therfore / seyde oure lord*. [¶ Dominus Apos|tolis suis] Ihesu crist to hise Apostles in this wise [.2870] ¶ wel happy and blessed been they / that louen and purchacen pees / for they been called children of god [2871] A quod Melibee /. now se I wel / that ye louen nat myn honour /*. [¶ Melibee] ne my worshipe [2872] ¶ Ye knowen wel that myne Page  466 [6-text p 243] Aduersaries / han bigonnen this debaat and bryge / by hire outrage / [2873] and ye se wel that they ne requeren ne preyen me nat of pees / ne they asken nat to be reconsiled [2874] ¶ wol ye thanne / that I go and meke me and obeye me to hem and crie hem mercy?/. [2875] ffor sothe / that were nat my worshipe [2876] ffor right as men seyn / that ouer greet hoomlynesse / engendreth dispreisynge /· so fareth it by to greet humylitee or mekenesse

[2877] Thanne bigan dame Prudence / to maken sem|blant *. [¶ Prudence] of wratthe / and seyde [2878] ¶ Certes sire / sauf youre grace / I loue youre honour and youre profit as I do myn owene / and euere haue doon / [2879] ne ye ne noon oother / syen neuere the contrarie [2880] ¶ And yit if I hadde seyd / that ye sholde han purchaced the pees / and the reconsiliacion /. I ne hadde nat muchel mystaken me / ne seyd amys /. [2881] ffor the wise man seiþ ¶ The dis|sension *. [¶ Sapiens] / bigynneth by another man / and the reconsilyng by [folio 169b] gynneth by thy self [2882] ¶ And the prophete seith ‖.*. [¶ propheta] fflee shrewednesse and do goodnesse / [2883] seke pees and folwe it as muchel as in thee is [2884] ¶ Yet seye I nat that ye shul rather pursue to youre Aduersaries for pees than they shuln to yow ‖. [2885] for I knowe wel / that ye been so hard-herted / that ye wol do no thyng for me [2886] ¶ And Salomon seith ‖. he that hath ouer hard an*. [¶ Salomon] herte / atte laste / he shal myshappe and mystyde

[2887] Whanne Melibee hadde herd dame Prudence*. [¶ Melibee] maken semblant of wratthe / he seyde in this wise [2888] ¶ Dame I prey yow that ye be nat displesed / of thynges that I seye [2889] for ye knowe wel that I am angry and wrooth / and that is no wonder / [2890] and they that been wrothe / witen nat wel / what they don ne what they seyn [2891] ¶ Therfore / the prophete seith ¶ That*. [¶ propheta] troubled eyen / han no cleer sighte [2892] ¶ but seyeth and conseileth me as yow liketh / for I am redy to do right as ye wol desire / [2893] and if ye repreue me of my folye / I am the moore holden / to loue yow and preyse Page  467 [6-text p 244] yow [2894] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖. That he þat repreueth*. [¶ Salomon] hym that dooth folye / [2895] he shal fynde gretter grace than he / that deceyueth hym by sweete wordes

[2896] Thanne seide dame Prudence ¶ I make no semblant of wratthe ne Anger / but for youre grete profit [2897] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖. He is moore worth that re|preueth *. [¶ Salomon] / or chideth a fool for his folye shewynge hym semblant of wratthe / [2898] than he that supporteth hym and p[r]eyseth hym in his mysdoynge and laugheth at his folye [2899] ¶ And this same Salomon / seith afterward .‖. That by the sorweful visage of a man / that is to seyn / by the sory and heuy contenance of a man / [2900] the fool correcteth and amendeth hym self

[2901] Thanne seyde Melibee ¶ I shal nat konne an|swere *. [¶ Melibee] to so manye faire resons / as ye putten to me and shewen / [2902] seyeth shortly youre wyl and youre con|seil / and I am al redy to fulfille and parfourne it

[2903] Thanne dame Prudence / discouered al hir wyl*. [¶ Prudence] to hym / and seyde [2904] ¶ I conseille yow quod she abouen alle thynges / that ye make pees / bitwene god and yow / [2905] and beth reconsiled vn-to hym and to his grace ‖ [2906] ffor as I haue seyd yow heer biforn /. god hath suffred yow to haue this tribulacion and disese for youre synnes / [2907] And if ye do as I sey yow / god wol sende youre Aduersaries vn-to yow [2908] and maken hem fallen at youre feet redy to do youre wyl and youre com|andementz [2909] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖. whan the con|dicion *. [¶ Salomon] of man is plesaunt and likynge to god /. [2910] he chaungeth the hertes of the mannes Aduersaries and con|streyneth hem / to biseken hym / of pees and of grace / [2911] and I prey yow / lat me speke with youre Aduersaries in priuee place / [2912] for they shul nat knowe / that it be of youre wyl / or youre assent. [2913] and thanne whan I knowe / hir wil and hire entente /. I may conseille yow the moore seurely

[2914] Dame quod Melibee / dooth youre wil and*. [¶ Melibee]Page  468 [6-text p 245] youre likynge /. [2915] for I putte me hoolly / in youre disposicion and ordinaunce

[2916] Thanne Dame Prudence / whan she saugh the*. [¶ Prudence] goode wyl of hir housbonde / delibered and took auys in hir self. [2917] thinkinge / how she myghte brynge this nede / vn-to a good conclusion / and to a good ende /. [2918] And whan she saugh hir tyme / she sente for thise Aduersaries / to come vn-to hire in to a pryuee place / [2919] and shewed wisely vn-to hem / the grete goodes that comen of pees / [2920] and the grete har [folio 170a] mes and perils / that been in werre / [2921] and seyde to hem / in a goodly manere /. hou that hem oughten / haue greet re|pentaunce / [2922] of the Iniurie and wrong that they hadden doon / to Melibee hir lord / and to hire / And to hire doghter

[2923] And whan they herden the goodliche wordes of Dame Prudence / [2924] they weren so supprised and rauysshed / and hadden so greet ioye of hire / that wonder was to telle [2925] ¶ A lady quod they / ye han shewed vn-to vs / the blessynge of swetnesse / after the sawe of Dauid the prophete / [2926] for the reconsilynge / which we been nat worthy to haue in no manere / [2927] but we oghte requeren it with greet contricion and humylitee / [2928] ye of youre grete goodnesse haue presented vnto vs [2929] ¶ Now se we wel / that the science and the konnynge of Salomon is ful trewe [2930] ¶ ffor he seith ‖ That sweete wordes / multiplien and encreesen freendes / and maken shrewes / to be debonaire and meeke

[2931] ¶ Certes quod they ./ we putten oure dede and al oure matere and cause / al hoolly / in youre goode wyl / [2932] and been redy to obeye to the speche and comande|ment of my lord Melibee [2933] ¶ And therfore deere and benygne lady / we preien yow and biseke yow as mekely as we konne and mowen / [2934] that it lyke vn-to youre grete goodnesse / to fulfillen in dede / youre good|liche wordes / [2935] for we consideren and knowelichen / Page  469 [6-text p 246] that we han offended and greued my lord Melibee out of mesure /. [2936] so ferforth / that we be nat of power / to maken hise amendes / [2937] and therfore / we oblige and bynden vs and oure freendes / to doon al his wyl and hise comandementz ‖ [2938] ¶ but perauenture / he hath swich heuynesse / and swich wratthe to vs ward / by cause of oure offense / [2939] that he wole enioyne vs swich a peyne / as we mowe nat bere ne susteene /. [2940] and therfore noble lady / we biseke / to youre wommanly pitee / [2941] to taken swich auysement in this nede / that we / ne oure freendes / be nat desherited ne destroyed / thurgh oure folye

[2942] Certes quod Prudence / it is an hard thyng and*. [¶ Prudence] right perilous / [2943] that a man putte hym al outrely / in the arbitracion and Iuggement. and in the myght and power of hise enemys [2944] ¶ ffor Salomon seith ‖ Leeueth*. [¶ Salomon] me / and yeueth credence / to that I shal seyn ¶ I seye quod he ¶ ye peple / folk and gouernours of hooly chirche [2945] ¶ to thy sone / to thy wyf / to thy freend / ne to thy broother / [2946] ne yeue thou neuere myght ne maistrie of thy body / whil thou lyuest. [2947] ¶ Now sithen he deffendeth / that man shal nat yeuen to his broother / ne to his freend / the myght of his body? [2948] by strenger reson he deffendeth / and forbedeth a man / to yeuen hym self to his enemy [2949] ¶ And nathe|lees I conseille you / that ye / mystruste nat my lord / [2950] for I woot wel / and knowe verraily / that he is / debonaire and meeke / large / curteys / [2951] and no thyng desirous ne coueitous of good ne richesse [2952] ¶ for ther nys no thyng in this world that he desireth / saue oonly / worshipe and honour [2953] ¶ fforther-moore I knowe wel / and am right seur / that he shal no thyng doon in this nede / with-outen my conseil / [2954] And I shal so werken in this cause / that by grace of oure lord god / ye shul been reconsiled vn-to vs

[2955] Thanne seyden they / with o. [folio 170b] voys ‖ worshipful Page  470 [6-text p 247] lady we putten vs and oure goodes al fully in youre wil and disposicion / [2956] and been redy / to comen / what day þat it like vn-to youre noblesse to lymyte vs or assigne vs [2957] for to maken oure obligacion and boond as strong as it liketh vn-to youre goodnesse / [2958] that we mowe fulfille the wille of yow / and of my lord Melibee

[2959] Whan Dame Prudence / hadde herd the an|sweres *. [¶ Prudence] of thise men / she bad hem / goon agayn priuely / [2960] and she retourned to hir lord Melibee / and tolde hym / how she foond hise Aduersaries ful repentant [2961] knowelechynge ful lowely hir synnes and trespas / and how they were redy to suffren all peyne / [2962] requirynge and preiynge hym of mercy and pitee;

[2963] Thanne seyde Melibee ¶ he is wel worthy to*. [¶ Melibee] haue pardon and foryifnesse of his synne þat excuseth nat his synne / [2964] but knowelecheth it and repenteth hym / axinge Indulgence [2965] ¶ ffor Senec / seith ‖. ther*. [¶ Seneca] is the remission and foryifnesse . where as confession is [2966] ¶ ffor Confession is neighebore to Innocence [2967] [et dit autre part: cellui est presque innocent qui a honte de son péchié et le recongnoist. (Le Ménagier, i. 231)] And therfore I assente and corforme me to haue pees / [2968] but it is good þat we do it nat with-outen the assent and wyl of oure freendes

[2969] Thanne was Prudence right glad and ioyeful /*. [¶ Prudence] and seyde [2970] ¶ Certes sire quod she ye han wel and goodly answered [2971] ffor right as by the conseil / assent and helpe of youre freendes / ye han been stired / to venge yow and maken werre? [2972] right so with|outen hire conseil / shul ye nat accorden yow / ne haue pees with youre Aduersaries [2973] ¶ ffor the lawe seith ‖ ther nys no thyng so good by wey of kynde / as a thyng to been vnbounde by hym þat it was ybounde

[2974] ¶ And thanne Dame Prudence with-outen delay or tariynge / sente anon hire messages for hire kyn and for hire olde freendes / whiche þat were trewe and wyse / [2975] Page  471 [6-text p 248] and tolde hem by ordre / in the presence of Melibee al this mateere as it is abouen expressed and declared / [2976] and preyden þat they wolde yeuen hire auys and con|seil / what best were to doon in this nede [2977] ¶ And whan Melibees freendes hadde taken hire auys and deliber|acion of the forseide mateere / [2978] and hadden examyned it by greet bisynesse and greet diligence / [2979] they yaue ful conseil for to haue pees and reste / [2980] and þat Melibee / sholde receyue with good herte hise aduersaries / to foryifnesse and mercy

[2981] And whan dame Prudence hadde herd the assent of hir lord Melibee / and the conseil of hise freendes [2982] accorde with hire wille and hire entencion / [2983] she was wonderly glad in hire herte / and seyde [2984] ¶ Ther is an old prouerbe quod she seith ‖. That the*. [¶ Prudence] goodnesse þat thou mayst do this day / do it [2985] and abide nat ne delaye it nat til to morwe [2986] ¶ And therfore / I conseille þat ye sende youre messages swiche as been discrete and wise / [2987] vn-to youre Aduersaries / tellynge hem on youre bihalue / [2988] þat if they wole trete of pees and of accord / [2989] that they shape hem / with-outen delay or tariyng to comen vn-to vs / [2990] which thyng parfourned was in dede [2991] ¶ And whanne thise trespassours and repentynge folk of hire folies / that is to seyn / the Aduersaries of Melibee / [2992] hadden herd / what thise Messagers seyden vn-to hem / [2993] they weren right glad and ioyeful / and answereden ful mekely and benignely / [2994] yeldynge graces and thankynges to hir lord Melibee and to al his compaignye / [2995] and shopen hem with-outen delay to go with the Messagers and obeye to the comandement of hir lord Melibee

[2996] ¶ And right anon / they tooken hire wey to the Court of Melibee / [2997] and tooken with hem / somme of hire trewe freendes / to maken feith for hem and for to been hire borwes / [2998] and whan they were comen / [folio 171a] to Page  472 [6-text p 249] the presence of Melibee / he seyde hem thise wordes [2999] It standeth thus quod Melibee / and sooth it is /*. [¶ Melibee] that ye [3000] causelees and with-outen skile and reson [3001] han doon grete Iniuries and wronges / to me and to my wyf Prudence; and to my doghter also / [3002] for ye han entred in to myn hous by violence [3003] and haue doon swich outrage þat alle men knowen wel þat ye haue disserued the deeth / [3004] and therfore / wol I knowe and wite of yow / [3005] wheither ye wol putte the punyssement and the chastisynge / and the vengeance of this outrage / in the wyl of me / and of my wyf Prudence / or ye wol nat

[3006] Thanne / the wiseste of hem thre answerde for hem alle and seyde [3007] ¶ Sire quod he / we knowen wel / þat we been vnworthy / to comen vn-to the Court of so greet a lord and so worthy as ye been? [3008] ffor we han so greetly mystaken vs / and han offended and agilt in swich a wise / agayn youre heigh lordshipe / [3009] that trewely / we han disserued the deeth / [3010] but yet for the grete goodnesse and debonairetee þat al the world / witnesseth in youre persone / [3011] we submytten vs / to the excellence and benignitee of youre gracious lordshipe / [3012] and been redy to obeie to alle youre comandementz / [3013] bisekynge yow / that of youre merciable pitee / ye wol considere oure grete repentance and lough submyssion [3014] and graunten vs foryeuenesse of oure outrageous trespas and offense / [3015] for wel we knowe þat youre liberal grace and mercy / strecchen hem ferther in-to good|nesse / than doon oure outrageouse giltes and trespas in-to wikkednesse / [3016] al be it þat cursedly and damp|nablely / we han agilt agayn youre heigh lordshipe

[3017] Thanne Melibee / took hem vp fro the ground ful benignely [3018] and receyued hire obligacions and hir boondes by hire othes vp-on hire plegges and borwes / [3019] and assigned hem a certeyn day / to retourne vn-to his Court . [3020] for to accepte and receyue the sentence and Page  473 [6-text p 250] Iuggement þat Melibee wolde comande to be doon on hem by the causes aforeseyd / [3021] whiche thynges ordeyned /. euery man retourned to his hous ‖

[3022] And whan þat dame Prudence saugh hir tyme / she freyned and axed hir lord Melibee / [3023] what vengeance / he thoughte / to taken of hise Aduersaries

[3024] To which Melibee answerde and seyde ¶ Certes*. [¶ Melibee] quod he / I thynke and purpose me fully / [3025] to des|herite hem / of al þat euere they han / and for to putte hem / in exil for euere

[3026] Certes quod dame Prudence / this were a crueel*. [¶ Prudence] sentence and muchel agayn reson / [3027] ffor ye been riche ynough and han no nede of oother mennes good / [3028] and ye myghte lightly in this wise gete yow a coueitous name / [3029] which is a vicious thyng and oghte been eschued of euery good man [3030] ffor after the sawe of the word of the Apostle /. Coueitise is roote of alle harmes /*. [¶ Apostolus] [3031] And therfore it were bettre for yow / to lese so muchel good of youre owene / than for to taken of hir good in this manere / [3032] for bettre it is to lesen with worshipe / than it is to wynne with vileynye and shame /. [3033] And eueri man oghte to doon his diligence and his bisynesse / to geten hym a good name /. [3034] And yet shal he nat oonly bisie hym in kepynge of his good name. [3035] but he shal also enforcen hym alwey / to do som thyng by which he may renouelle his good name / [3036] for it is writen / þat the olde good loos and good name of a man / is soone goon and passed / whan it is nat newed ne re|nouelled [3037] ¶ And as touchynge / þat ye seyn / ye wole exile youre Aduersaries / [3038] that thynketh me / muchel agayn reson / and out of [folio 171a] mesure / [3039] con|sidered the power þat they han yeue yow vp-on hem self ‖. [3040] And it is writen þat he is worthy / to lesen his priuilege / þat mysuseth / the myght and the power þat is yeuen hym [3041] ¶ And I sette cas / ye myghte enioyne hem þat peyne by right and by lawe / [3042] which I Page  474 [6-text p 251] trowe / ye mowe nat do /. [3043] I seye ye mighte nat putten it to execucion per-auenture / [3044] and thanne were it likly to retourne to the werre as it was biforn / [3045] And therfore / if ye wole þat men do yow obeis|ance / ye moste deemen moore curteisly / [3046] this is to seyn / ye moste yeuen moore esy sentences and Iuggementz [3047] ¶ ffor it is writen / þat he þat moost curteisly comandeth / to hym men moost obeyen / [3048] And ther|fore I prey yow þat in this necessitee / and in this nede / ye caste yow to ouercome youre herte [3049] ¶ ffor Senec*. [¶ Seneca] seith /. That he þat ouercometh his herte / ouercomeþ twies [3050] ¶ And Tullius seith ¶ Ther is no thyng so*. [¶ Tullius] comendable in a greet lord / [3051] as whan he is debon|aire and meeke / and appeseth lightly / [3052] And I. prey yow þat ye wole forbere now to do vengeance [3053] in swich a manere / þat youre goode name may be kept and conserued / [3054] and þat men mowe haue cause and mateere / to preyse yow of pitee and of mercy / [3055] and þat ye haue no cause to repente yow of thyng þat ye doon [3056] ¶ ffor Senec seith ¶ He ouercometh in an yuel*. [¶ Seneca] manere þat repenteth hym of his victorie / [3057] Wher|fore I pray yow / lat mercy been in youre mynde and in youre herte / [3058] to theffect and entente þat god almyghty haue mercy on yow in his laste Iuggement; [3059] ¶ ffor seint Iame seith in his Epistle ¶ Iuggement with|outen*. [¶ Iacobus in epistola] mercy shal be doon to hym / þat hath no mercy of another wight

[3060] Whanne Melibee hadde herd the grete skiles*. [¶ Melibee] and resons of Dame Prudence / and hire wise informacions and techynges / [3061] his herte gan enclyne to the wil of his wif considerynge hir trewe entente / [3062] and con|formed hym anon and assented fully to werken after hir conseil / [3063] and thonked god / of whom procedeþ al vertu and alle goodnesse / þat hym sente a wyf / of so greet discrecion [3064] And whan the day cam þat hise Aduer|saries sholde appieren in his presence / [3065] he spak vn|to Page  475 [6-text p 252] hem ful goodly / and seyde in this wyse [3066] ¶ Al be it so / þat of youre pride / and presumpcion and folie / and of youre necligence and vnkonnynge / [3067] ye haue mysborn yow and trespassed vn-to me. [3068] yet for as muche / as I see and biholde youre grete humylitee / [3069] and þat ye been sory and repentant of youre giltes / [3070] it constreyneth me / to doon yow grace and mercy [3071] ¶ Therfore / I receyue yow / to my grace [3072] and foryeue yow outrely alle the offenses / Iniuries and wronges þat ye haue doon agayn me and myne / [3073] to this effect and to this ende / that god of his endelees mercy [3074] wole at the tyme of oure diynge foryeuen vs oure giltes that we han trespassed to hym in this wrecched world / [3075] ffor doutelees / if we be sory and repentant of the synnes and giltes whiche we han trespassed in the sighte of oure lord god / [3076] he is so free and so merci|able / [3077] that he wole foryeuen vs oure giltes [3078] and bryngen vs to his blisse / that neuere hath ende. Amen

¶ Heere is ended Chaucers tale of Melibee / and of Dame Prudence .
Page  476 [6-text p 253]

¶ The murye wordes of the Hoost/ to the Monk/ .*. [on leaf 172]

Whan ended / was my tale / of Melibee
And of Prudence / and hire benignytee
Oure hoost seyde / as I am feithful man
And by that precious corpus Madrian
I hadde leuere / than a barel ale
That good lief my wyf / hadde herd this tale
She nys no thyng / of swich pacience
As was this Melibeus wyf Prudence
By goddes bones / whan I bete my knaues
She bryngeth me forth / the grete clobbed staues
And crieth / slee the dogges euerichoon
And brek/ hem / bothe bak and euery boon
¶ And if that any neighebore of myne
Wol nat in chirche / to my wyf enclyne
Or be so hardy / to hire to trespace
Whan she comth [home] / she rampeth in my face
And crieth / false coward / wrek thy wyf/
By corpus bones / I wol haue thy knyf/
And thou shalt haue my distaf and go spynne
ffro day to nyght / right thus she wol bigynne
Allas she seith / that euere þat I was shape
To wedden a Milksope / or a coward ape
That wol been ouerlad with euery wight
Thou darst nat stonden by thy wyues right
¶ This is my lif but if that I wol fighte
And out at dore / anon I moot me dighte
Or elles I am but lost but if that I
Be lik a wilde leon fool-hardy
I woot wel / she wol do me slee som day
Som neighebore / and thanne go my way
ffor I am perilous / with knyf in honde
Al be it that I dar hire nat withstonde Page  477 [6-text p 254]
ffor she is / byg in Armes by my feith
That shal he fynde / þat hire mysdooth or seith
But lat vs passe awey / fro this mateere
¶ My lord the Monk quod he / be myrie of cheere
ffor ye shul telle a tale trewely
Loo Rouchestre / stant heer faste by
Ryde forth myn owene lord / brek nat oure game
But by my trouthe / I knowe nat youre name
Wher shal I calle yow / my lord daun Iohn
Or daun Thomas / or elles daun Albon
Of what hous be ye / by youre fader kyn
I vowe to god / thou hast a ful fair skyn
It is a gentil pasture / ther thow goost [folio 172b]
Thou art nat lyk a penant or a goost
Vpon my feith / thou art som Officer
Som worthy sexteyn / or som Celerer
ffor by my fader soule / as to my doom
Thou art a maister / whan thou art at hoom
No poure cloystrer/ ne no Novys
But a gouernour / wily and wys
And therwith-al / of brawnes and of bones
A wel farynge persone / for the nones
I pray to god / yeue hym confusioun
That first thee broghte / vn-to Religioun
Thou woldest han been / a tredefowel aright
Haddestow / as greet a leeue / as thou hast myght
To parfourne al thy lust/ in engendrure
Thou haddest bigeten / ful many a creature
Allas / why werestow / so wyd a Cope
God yeue me sorwe / but and I were a pope
Nat oonly thou / but euery myghty man
Though he were shorn / ful hye vpon his pan
Sholde haue a wyf / for al the world is lorn
Religioun / hath take vp al the corn
Of tredyng. and we borel men been shrympes
Of fieble trees / ther comen wrecched ympes Page  478 [6-text p 255]
. . . . .
. . . . .*. [no gap in the MS.]
This maketh / that oure wyues wole assaye
Religious folk for ye mowe bettre paye
Of Venus paiementz / than mowe we
God woot no lussheburgh payen ye
But be nat wrooth / my lord for þat I pleye
fful ofte in game / a sooth I haue herd seye
¶ This worthy Monk / took al in pacience
And seyde I wol doon al my diligence
As fer as sowneth / in-to honestee
To telle yow a tale / or two / or three
And if yow list to herkne hyderward
I wol [yow] seyn the lyf / of seint Edward
Or ellis / first Tragedies wol I telle
Of whiche /I/ haue an hundred in my Celle
¶ Tragedie is to seyn / a certeyn storie
As olde bookes / maken vs memorie
Of hym / that stood / in greet prosperitee
And is yfallen / out of heigh degree
In to myserie / and endeth wrecchedly
And they ben versified communely
Of .vj. feet. which men clepen Exametron
In prose eek / been endited many oon
And eek in meetre / in many a sondry wyse
Lo / this declaryng oghte ynogh suffise
Now herkneth / if yow liketh for to heere [folio 173a]
But first / I yow biseeke / in this mateere
Though I by ordre / telle nat thise thynges
Be it of Popes / Emperours / or kynges
After hir ages / as men writen fynde
But tellen hem / som bifore and som bihynde
As it now comth / vn-to my remembraunce
Haue me excused of min ignoraunce
¶ Explicit
Page  479 [6-text p 256]

¶ Heere bigynneth / the Monkes tale / de casibus virorum Illustrium.*. [on leaf 173]

Iwol biwaille / in manere of Tragedie*. [[Painting of the Monk and two dogs]]
The harm of hem / that stoode in heigh degree
And fillen so / that ther nas no remedie
To brynge hem / out of hir aduersitee
ffor certein / whan þat ffortune list to flee
Ther may no man / the cours of hire withholde
Lat no man truste / on blynd prosperitee
Be war of thise ensamples / trewe and olde


AT lucifer / though / he an Angel were*. [¶ Lucifer]
And nat a man / at hym wol I bigynne
ffor though ffortune / may noon Angel dere
ffrom heigh degree / yet fel he for his synne
Doun in to helle / where he yet is Inne
O Lucifer/ brightest . of Angels alle
Now artow sathanas / þat mayst nat twynne
Out of miserie / in which þat thou art falle


Loo Adam / in the feeld of Damyssene*. [¶ Adam]
With goddes owene fynger/ wroght was he
And nat bigeten / of mannes sperme vnclene
And welte all Paradys / sauynge o tree
Hadde neuere worldly man so heigh degree
As Adam / til he for mysgouernance
Was dryuen / out of hys hye prosperitee
To labour and to helle / and to meschance
Page  480 [6-text p 257]


Loo Sampson / which that was Annunciat*. [¶ Sampson]
By Angel / longe er his Natiuitee
And was / to god almyghty consecrat
And stood in noblesse / whil he myghte see
Was neuere / swich another as was hee
To speke of strengthe / and ther-with hardynesse
But to hise wyues / toolde he his secree
Thurgh which / he slow hym self / for wrecchednesse
Sampson / this noble almyghty Champion [folio 173b]
With-outen wepene / saue his handes tweyne
He slow / and al torente the leon
Toward his weddyng walkynge by the weye
His false wyf / koude hym so plese and preye
Til she his conseil knew / and she vntrewe
Vn-to hise foos / his conseil gan biwreye
And hym forsook. and took another newe
Thre hundred foxes / took Sampson for Ire
And alle hir tayles / he togydre bond
And sette the foxes tayles / alle on fire
ffor he / on euery tayl / had knyt a brond
And they brende / alle the cornes in that lond
And alle hire Olyueres / and vynes eke
A thousand men / he slow eek with his hond
And hadde no wepene / but an Asses cheke
Whan they were slayn / so thursted hym / that he
Was wel ny lorn / for which he gan to preye
That god wolde / on his peyne han som pitee
And sende hym drynke / or elles moste he deye
And of this asses cheke / that was dreye
Out of a wang tooth / sprang anon a welle
Of which he drank anon / shortly to seye
Thus heelpe hym god / as Iudicum can telle Page  481 [6-text p 258]
By verray force / at Gazan / on a nyght
Maugree Philistiens of that Citee
The gates of the toun / he hath vp plyght
And on his bak. ycaryed hem hath hee
Hye on an hill / þat men myghte hem see
O noble almyghty Sampson / lief and deere
Had thou nat toold / to wommen thy secree
In all this world / ne hadde been thy peere
This Sampson / neuere Ciser drank ne wyn
Ne on his heed / cam rasour noon ne sheere
By precept of the Messager diuyn
ffor alle hise strengthes / in hise heeres weere
And fully twenty wynter yeer by yeere
He / hadde of Israel the gouernance
But soone / shal he wepe many a teere
ffor wommen / shal hym bryngen to meschance
Vn-to his lemman Dalida he tolde
That in hise heeris / al his strengthe lay
And falsly to hise foomen / she hym solde
¶ And slepynge in hir barm / vp-on a day [folio 174a]
She made to clippe / or shere / hise heres away
And made hise foomen / al this craft espyen
And whan þat they / hym foond in this array
They bounde hym faste / and putten out hise eyen
But er his heer/ were clipped or yshaue
Ther was no boond / with which men myghte him bynde
But now is he / in prison in a Caue
Where as they made hym / at the Queerne grynde
O noble Sampson / strongest of mankynde
O whilom / Iuge in glorie and in richesse
Now maystow wepen / with thyne eyen blynde
Sith thou fro wele / art falle in wrecchednesse Page  482 [6-text p 259]
The ende of this caytyf was as I shal seye
Hise foomen / made a feeste vp-on a day
And made hym as a fool / biforn hem pleye
And this was / in a temple of greet array
But atte laste / he made a foul affray
ffor he / the pilers shook / and made hem falle
And doun fil Temple and al / and ther it lay
And slow hym self / and eek his foomen alle
This is to seyn the Prynces euerichoon
And eek / thre thousand bodyes were ther slayn
With fallynge / of the grete Temple of stoon
Of Sampson / now wol I na moore sayn
Beth war / by this ensample oold and playn
That no men / telle hir conseil til hir wyues
Of swich thyng as they wolde han secree fayn
If þat it touche / hir lymes or hir lyues


Off Hercules / the souereyn Conquerour*. [¶ Hercules]
Syngen hise werkes / laude and heigh renoun
ffor in his tyme / of strengthe he was the flour
He slow / and rafte the skyn of the leoun
He of Centauros / leyde the boost adoun
He Arpies slow / the crueel bryddes felle
He golden Apples / refte of the dragoun
He drow out Cerberus / the hound of helle
He slow the crueel tyrant Busirus
And made his hors / to frete hym flessh and boon
He slow / the firy serpent venymus
Of Acheloys hornes two / he brak oon
And he slow Cacus / in a Caue of stoon
He slow-the geant Antheus the stronge
He slow the grisly boor / and that anon [folio 174b]
And bar the heuene / on his nekke longe Page  483 [6-text p 260]
Was neuere wight sith that this world bigan
That slow so manye Monstres / as dide he
Thurgh-out this wyde world / his name ran
What for his strengthe / and for his heigh bountee
And euery Reawme / wente he for to see
He was so stroong þat no man myghte hym lette
At bothe the worldes endes / seith Trophee*. [¶ Ille vates Chalde|orum Tropheus]
In stide of boundes / he a pileer sette
A lemman hadde / this noble Champion
That highte Dianira / fressh as May
And as thise clerkes / maken mention
She hath hym sent. a sherte fressh and gay
Allas this sherte / allas and weylaway
Euenymed was / so subtilly with-alle
That er þat he / had wered it half a day
It made his flessh / al from hise bones falle
But nathelees / somme clerkes hire excusen
By oon þat highte Nessus that it maked
Be as be may / I wol hire noght accusen
But on his bak this sherte he wered al naked
Til þat his flessh / was for the venym blaked
And whan he saugh / noon oother remedye
In hoote coles / he hath hym seluen raked
ffor with no venym deigned hym to dye
Thus starf / this worthy / myghty Hercules
Lo / who may truste / on ffortune any throwe
ffor hym þat folweth / al this world of prees
Er he be war / is ofte yleyd ful lowe
fful wys is he / that kan hym seluen knowe
Beth war / for whan that ffortune list to glose
Thanne wayteth she / her man to ouerthrowe
By swich a wey / as he wolde leest suppose
Page  484 [6-text p 261]


The myghty trone / the precious tresor*. [¶ Nabugo|donosor]
The glorious ceptre / and Roial magestee
That hadde the kyng Nabugodonosor
With tonge / vnnethe may discryued bee
He twyes / wan Ierusalem the Citee
The vessel of the temple / he with hym ladde
At Babiloigne / was his souereyn see
In which his glorie / and his delit he hadde
The faireste children / of the blood Roial [folio 175a]
Of Israel / he leet do gelde anoon
And maked ech of hem / to been his thral
Amonges othere / Daniel was oon
That was the wiseste child of euerychon
ffor he / the dremes of the kyng expowned
Where as in Chaldeye / clerk ne was ther noon
That wiste / to what fyn / hise dremes sowned
This proude kyng leet maken a statue of gold
Sixty cubites long and seuene in brede
The which ymage / he bothe yonge and oold
Comanded to loute / and haue in drede
Or in a ffourneys / ful of flambes rede
He shal be brent that wolde noght obeye
But neuere wolde assente / to that dede
Daniel / ne hise yonge felawes tweye
This kyng of kynges / proud was and elaat
He wende / þat god that sit in magestee
Ne myghte / hym nat bireue of his estaat
But sodeynly / he loste his dignytee
And lyk a beest / hym semed for to bee
And eet hey as an Oxe / and lay ther oute
In reyn / with wilde beestes walked hee
Til certein tyme / was ycome aboute Page  485 [6-text p 262]
And lik/ an Egles fetheres / wax his heres
Hise nayles / lyk a briddes clawes weere
Til god relessed hym / a certeyn yeres
And yaf hym wit / and thanne with many a teere
He thanked god / and euere his lyf in feere
Was he / to doon amys / or moore trespace
And til that tyme / he leyd was on his beere
He knew / that god was / ful of myght and grace


His sone / which that highte Balthasar*. [¶ Balthasar]
That heeld the regne / after his fader day
He by his fader / koude noght be war
ffor proud he was / of herte and of array
And eek / an ydolastre / he was ay
His hye estaat assured hym in pryde
But ffortune / caste hym doun / and ther he lay
And sodeynly / his regne gan diuide
A feeste he made / vn-to hise lordes alle
Vp-on a tyme / and bad hem blithe bee
And thanne / hise Officers gan he calle
Gooth bryngeth forth / the vessels quod he [folio 175b]
Whiche that my fader / in his prosperitee
Out of the temple / of Ierusalem birafte
And to oure hye goddes / thanke we
Of honour / that oure eldres with us lafte
Hys wyf hise lordes / and hise concubynes
Ay dronken / whil hire Appetites laste
Out of thise noble vessels / sondry wynes
And on a wal / this kyng hise eyen caste
And saugh an hand Armlees / þat wroot ful fast
ffor feere of which / he quook and siked soore
This hand / that Balthasar so soore agaste
Wroot Mane techel phares / and na moore Page  486 [6-text p 263]
In al that land / Magicien was noon
That koude expounde / what this lettre mente
But Daniel / expowned it anon
And seyde kyng god to thy fader sente
Glorie and honour / regne / tresour / rente
And he was proud / and no-thyng god ne dradde
And therfore / god greet wreche vp-on hym sente
And hym birafte / the regne þat he hadde
He was out cast of mannes compaignye
With asses / was his habitacioun
And eet hey as a beest in weet and drye
Til that he knew / by grace and by resoun
That god of heuene / hath domynacioun
Ouer euery regne / and euery creature
And thanne / hadde god of hym compassioun
And hym restored / his regne and his figure
Eek / thou that art his sone / art proud also
And knowest alle thise thynges verraily
And art rebel to god / and art his foo
Thou drank eek / of hise vessels boldely
Thy wyf eek and thy wenches synfully
Dronke of the same vessels / sondry wynys
And heryest false goddes cursedly
Therfore to thee / yshapen ful greet pyne ys
This hand was sent from god / that on the wal
Wroot Mane techel phares / truste me
Thy regne is doon / thou weyest noght at al
Dyuyded is thy regne / and it shal be
To Medes and to Perses [yeue] quod he
And thilke same nyght this kyng was slawe
And Darius / occupieth his degree [folio 176a]
Thogh he therto / hadde neither right ne lawe Page  487 [6-text p 264]
Lordynges / ensample / heer-by may ye take
How that in lordshipe / is no sikernesse
ffor whan ffortune wole a man forsake
She bereth awey / his regne and his richesse
And eek hise freendes / bothe moore and lesse
ffor what man / þat hath freendes / thurgh ffortune
Mishape / wol maken hem enemys as I gesse
This prouerbe / is ful sooth and ful commune


CEnobia / of Palymerie Queene*. [¶ Cenobia]
As writen Persiens / of hir noblesse
So worthy was in Armes / and so keene
That no wight passed hire in hardynesse
Ne in lynage / nor in oother gentillesse
Of kynges blood of Perce / is she descended
I seye nat that she hadde moost fairnesse
But of hire shape / she myghte nat been amended
ffrom hire childhede / I fynde that she fledde
Office of wommen / and to wode she went
And many a wilde hertes blood she shedde
With arwes brode / that she to hem sente
She was so swift / þat she anon hem hente
And whan þat she was elder / she wolde kille
Leons / leopardes / and Beres al to-rente
And in hir Armes / weelde hem at hir wille
She dorste / wilde beestes dennes seke
And rennen in the montaignes al the nyght
And slepen vnder the bussh / and she koude eke
Wrastlen / by verray force / and verray myght/
With any yong man / were he neuer so wight
Ther myghte no thyng in hir Armes stonde
She kepte hir maydenhod / from euery wight
To no man / deigned hire for to be bonde Page  488 [6-text p 265]
But atte laste / hir freendes han hire maried
To Onedake / a Prynce of that contree
Al were it so / that she hem longe taried
And ye shul vnderstonde / how that he?
Hadde swiche fantasies / as hadde she*. [simul]
But nathelees / whan they were knyt infeere
They lyued / in ioye / and in felicitee
ffor ech of hem / hadde oother lief and deere
Saue o thyng that she wolde neuere assente [folio 176b]
By no wey / that he sholde by hire lye
But ones / for it was hir pleyn entente
To haue a child / the world to multiplye
And also soone / as þat she myghte espye
That she was nat with childe / with that dede
Thanne wolde she suffre hym / doon his fantasye
Eft soone / and nat but oones out of drede
And if she were with childe / at thilke cast
Na moore / sholde he pleyen thilke game
Til fully / fourty dayes / weren past
Thanne wolde she ones / suffre hym do the same
Al were this Onedake / wilde or tame
He gat na moore of hire / for thus she seyde
It was to wyues / lecherie and shame
In oother caas / if þat men with hem pleyde
Two sones / by Onedake hadde she
The whiche she kepte / in vertu and lettrure
But now / vn-to oure tale / turne we
I seye / so worshipful a creature
And wys ther-with / and large with mesure
So penyble in the werre / and curteis eke
Ne moore labour / myghte in werre endure
Was noon / though al this world men wolde seke Page  489 [6-text p 266]
Hir riche array / ne myghte nat be told
As wel in vessel / as in hire clothyng
She was al clad / in perree and in gold
And eek / she lafte noght / for noon huntyng
To haue of sondry tonges / ful knowyng
Whan þat she leyser hadde / and for to entende
To lerne bookes / was al hire likyng
How she in vertu / myghte hir lyf dispende
And shortly / of this proces for to trete
So doghty was hir housbonde and eek she
That they conquered / manye regnes grete
In the Orient with many a faire Citee
Apertenaunt vn-to the magestee
Of Rome / and with strong hond held hem ful faste
Ne neuere myghte / hir foo men doon hem flee
Ay / whil that Onedakes dayes laste
Hir batailles / who so list hem for to rede
Agayn Sapor the kyng and othere mo
And how al this proces / fil in dede
Why she conquered / and what title therto [folio 177a]
And after/ of hir meschief and hire wo
How þat she was / biseged and ytake
Lat hym / vn-to my maister Petrak go
That writ ynough of this .I vndertake
Whan Onedake was deed / she myghtily
The regnes heeld / and with hire propre hond
Agayn hir foos / she faught so cruelly
That ther nas kyng ne prynce in al that lond
That he nas glad / if he that grace fond
That she ne wolde / vp-on his lond werreye
With hire / they made alliance by bond
To been in pees / and lete hire ride and pleye Page  490 [6-text p 267]
The Emperour of Rome Claudius
Ne hym bifore / the Romayn Galien
Ne dorste neuere / been so corageus
Ne noon Ermyn / ne noon Egipcien
Ne Surrien / ne noon Arabyen
With-Inne the feeldes / that dorste with hire fighte
Lest that she wolde / hem with hir handes slen
Or with hir meignee / putten hem to flighte
In kynges habit / wente hir sones two
As heires / of hir fadres regnes alle
And hermanno / and Thymalao
Hir names were / as Persiens hem calle
But ay ffortune / hath in hire hony galle
This myghty queene / may no while endure
ffortune / out of hir regne made hire falle
To wrecchednesse / and to mysauenture
Aurelian / whan that the gouernaunce
Of Rome / cam in-to hise handes tweye
He shoope / vp-on this queene to doon vengeaunce
And with hise legions / he took his weye
Toward Cenobie / and shortly for to seye
He made hire flee / and atte last hire hente
And fettred hire / and eek hire children tweye
And wan the land / and hoom to Rome he wente
Amonges othere thynges / that he wan
Hir Chaar/ þat was with gold wroght and perree
This grete Romayn / this Aurelian
Hath with hym lad / for that men sholde it see
Biforn his triumphe / walketh shee
With gilte cheynes / on hire nekke hangynge
Coroned was she / after hir degree [folio 177b]
And ful of perree / charged hire clothynge Page  491 [6-text p 268] , [6-text p 271]
Allas ffortune / she that whilom was
Dredeful / to kynges and to Emperoures
Now gaureth al the peple / on hire allas
And she / that helmed was in starke shoures
And wan by force / townes stronge and toures
Shal on hir heed / now were a vitremyte
And she that bar/ the ceptre ful of floures
Shal bere a distaf / hire costes for to quyte*. [[The modern instances which should come here, are at the end of the Tale in this MS.]]


Al though / that Nero were vicius*. [¶ Nero]
As any feend that lith in helle adoun
Yet he / as telleth vs Swetonius
This wyde world / hadde in subieccioun
Bothe Est and West North / and Septemtrioun
Of Rubies / saphires / and of peerles white
Were alle hise clothes / brouded vp and doun
ffor he in gemmes / greetly gan delite
Moore delicaat moore pompous of array
Moore proud / was neuere Emperour than he
That ilke clooth / þat he hadde wered o day
After that tyme / he nolde it neuere see
Nettes of gold threed / hadde he greet plentee
To fisshe in Tybre / whan hym liste pleye
Hise lustes were al lawe / in his decree
ffor ffortune / as his freend / hym wolde obeye
He Rome brende / for his delicasie
The Senatours / he slow vp-on a day
To heere / how men wolde wepe and crie
And slow his brother / and by his suster lay
His mooder made he / in pitous array
ffor he / hire wombe slitte / to biholde
Where he conceyued was so weilaway
That he so litel / of his mooder tolde Page  492 [6-text p 271] , [6-text p 272]
No teere out of hise eyen / for that sighte
Ne cam / but seyde / a fair womman was she
Greet wonder is / how þat he koude / or myghte
Be domesman / of hire dede beautee
The wyn to bryngen hym comanded he
And drank / anon / noon oother wo he made
Whan myght is ioyned vn-to crueltee
Allas to depe / wol the venym wade
In yowthe / a maister hadde this Emperour [folio 178a]
To teche hym lettrure / and curteisye
ffor of moralitee / he was the flour
As in his tyme / but if bookes lye
And whil this maister / hadde of hym maistrye
He maked hym / so konnyng and so sowple
That longe tyme it was / er tirannye
Or any vice / dorste on hym vncowple
This Seneca / of which that I deuyse
By cause Nero / hadde of hym swich drede
ffor he fro vices / wolde hym chastise
Discreetly / as by word / and nat by dede
Sire wolde he seyn / an Emperour moot nede
Be vertuous / and hate tirannye
ffor which / he in a bath / made hym to blede
On bothe hise Armes / til he moste dye
This Nero / hadde eek/ of acustumaunce
In youthe / agayns his maister for to ryse
Which afterward / hym thoughte greet greuaunce
Therfore / he made hym dyen in this wise
But nathelees / this Seneca the wise
Chees in a Bath to dye / in this manere
Rather than han / any oother tormentise
And thus hath Nero / slayn his maister deere Page  493 [6-text p 272] , [6-text p 273]
Now fil it so / that ffortune liste no lenger
The hye pryde of Nero to cherice
ffor though þat he was strong yet was she strenger
She thoughte thus / by god I am to nyce
To sette a man / that is fulfild of vice
In heigh degree / and Emperour hym calle
By god / out of his sete / I wol hym trice
Whan he leest weneth / sonnest shal he falle
The peple roos vp-on hym on a nyght
ffor his defaute / and whan he it espied
Out of hise dores / anon he hath hym dight
Allone / and ther he wende han ben allied
He knokked faste / and ay the moore he cried
The fastere shette they / the dores alle
ffor drede of this / hym thoughte þat he dyed
And wente his wey / no lenger dorste he calle
The peple cride / and rombled vp and doun
That with his erys / herde he / how they seyde
Where is this false tiraunt this Neroun
ffor fere / almoost out of his wit he breyde [folio 178b]
And to hise goddes / pitously he preyd
ffor socour / but it myghte nat bityde
ffor drede of this / hym thoughte þat he deyde
And ran in-to a gardyn hym to hyde
And in this gardyn / foond he cherles tweye
That seten by a fyr / greet and reed
And to thise cherles two / he gan to preye
To sleen hym / and to girden of his heed
That to his body / whan þat he were deed
Were no despit ydoon / for his defame
Hym self he slow / he koude no bettre reed
Of which / ffortune lough / and hadde a game Page  494 [6-text p 273] , [6-text p 274]


Was neuere Capitayn / vnder a kyng/*. [¶ De Oloferno]
That regnes mo / putte in subieccioun
Ne strenger was in feeld / of alle thyng
As in his tyme / ne gretter of renoun
Ne moore pompous / in heigh presumpcioun
Than Oloferne / which ffortune ay kiste
So likerously / and ladde hym vp and doun
Til þat his heed was of / er þat he wiste
Nat oonly / that this world / hadde hym in Awe
ffor lesynge / of richesse / or libertee
But made euery man / reneyen his lawe
Nabugodonosor / was god seyde hee
Noon oother god / [ne] sholde adoured bee
Agayns his heeste / no wight dorste trespace
saue in Bethulia / a strong Citee*. [¶ Et fecerunt filij Israel secundum quod constituerat eis sacerdos domi|ni Eliachim. [t. i. Joacim, Judith iv. 8.]]
Where Eliachim / a preest was of that place
But taak kepe of the deeth of Oloferne
Amydde his hoost he dronke lay a nyght
With-Inne his tente / large as is a berne
And yet for al his pompe / and al his myght
Iudith a womman / as he lay vpright
Slepynge / his heed of smoot and from his tente
fful pryuely / she stal from euery wight
And with his heed / vn-to hir toun she wente


What nedeth it of kyng Anthiochus*. [¶ De Rege An|thiocho illustri]
To telle / his hye Roial magestee
His hye pride / hise werkes venymus
ffor swich another / was ther noon as he
Rede which þat he was / in Machabee
And rede / the proude wordes that he seyde
And why he fil / fro heigh prosperitee [folio 179a]
And in an hill / how wrecchedly he deyde Page  495 [6-text p 274] , [6-text p 275]
ffortune / hym hadde enhaunced so in pride
That verraily / he wende he myghte attayne
Vn-to the sterres / vp-on euery syde
And in balance / weyen ech montayne
And alle the floodes / of the see restrayne
And goddes peple / hadde he moost in hate
Hem wolde he sleen / in torment and in payne
Wenynge / þat god ne myghte his pride abate
And for that Nichanore / and Thymothee
Of Iewes / weren venquysshed myghtily
Vn-to the Iewes / swich an hate hadde he
That he bad / greithen his Chaar ful hastily
And swoor / and seyde ful despitously
Vn-to Ierusalem / he wolde eft soone
To wreken his Ire / on it ful cruelly
But of his purpos / he was let ful soone
God for his manace / hym so soore smoot
With invisible wounde / ay incurable
That in hise guttes / carf it so and boot
That hise peynes / weren importable
And certeinly / the wreche was resonable
ffor many a mannes guttes / dide he peyne
But from his purpos / cursed and dampnable
ffor all his smert he wolde hym nat restreyne
But bad anon / apparaillen his hoost
And sodeynly / er he was of it war
God daunted / al his pride and all his boost
ffor he so soore / fil out of his Char*. [lacerauit/]
That it hise lemes / and his skyn to-tar
So that he neyther/ myghte go ne ryde
But in a chayer / men / aboute hym bar
Al forbrused / bothe bak and syde Page  496 [6-text p 275] , [6-text p 276]
The wreche of god / hym smoot so cruelly
That thurgh his body / wikked wormes crepte
And ther-with-al / he stank horriblely
That noon of al his meynee / þat hym kepte
Wheither so he wook or ellis slepte
Ne myghte noght for stynk of hym endure
In this meschief / he wayled and eek wepte
And knew god / lord of euery creature
To all his hoost and to hym self also [folio 179b]
fful wlatsom was / the stynk of his careyne
No man / ne myghte hym bere / to ne fro
And in this stynk and this horrible peyne
He starf ful wrecchedly / in a Monteyne
Thus hath this Robbour / and this homycide
That many a man / made to wepe and pleyne
Swich gerdon / as bilongeth vn-to pryde

[Alexander the Great.]

The storie of Alisaundre / is so commune*. [¶ De Alex|andro]
That euery wight that hath discrecioun
Hath herd somwhat or al / of his ffortune
This wyde world / as in conclusioun
He wan by strengthe / or for his hye renoun
They weren glad / for pees vn-to hym sende
The pride / of man and beest / he leyde adoun
Wher so he cam / vn-to the worldes ende
Comparison / myghte neuere yet been maked
Bitwixen hym / and another Conquerour
ffor al this world / for drede of hym hath quaked
He [was] of knyghthod and of fredom flour
ffortune hym made / the heir of hire honour
Saue wyn and wommen / no man mighte aswage
His hye entente in Armes and labour
So was he ful / of leonyn corage Page  497 [6-text p 276] , [6-text p 277]
What pris were it to hym / though I yow tolde
Of Darius / and an hundred thousand mo
Of kynges / princes / Erles / dukes / bolde
Whiche he conquered / and broghte hem in-to wo
I seye / as fer as man may ryde or go
The world was his / what sholde I moore deuyse
ffor though I write / or tolde yow eueremo
Of his knyghthode / it myghte nat suffise
Twelf yeer he regned / as seith Machabee
Philippes sone of Macidoyne he was
That first was kyng in Grece the contree
O worthy gentil Alisandre allas
That euere sholde fallen swich a cas
Empoysoned / of thyn owene folk thou weere
Thy sys / ffortune / hath turned in-to Aas
And [yet] for thee / ne weepe she neuer a teere
Who shal me yeuen teeris to compleyne
The deeth of gentillesse / and of ffranchise
That al the world / weelded in his demeyne
And yet hym thoughte / it myghte nat suffise [folio 180a]
So ful was his corage / of heigh emprise
Allas / who shal me helpe to endite
ffalse ffortune / and poyson to despise
The whiche two / of al this wo I wyte

[Julius Cæsar.]

By wisedom / manhede / and by labour*. [¶ De Iulio Cesare]
ffrom humble bed / to roial magestee
Vp roos he Iulius the Conquerour
That wan al thoccident by land and See
By strengthe of hand / or elles by tretee
And vn-to Rome / made hem tributarie
And sitthe of Rome / the Emperour was he
Til that ffortune / weex his Aduersarie Page  498 [6-text p 277] , [6-text p 278]
O myghty Cesar / that in Thessalie
Agayn Pompeus / fader thyn in lawe
That of the Orient hadde all the Chiualrie
As fer/ as þat the day bigynneth dawe
Thou thurgh thy knyghthod / hast hem take and slawe
Saue fewe folk / that with Pompeus fledde
Thurgh which thou puttest al thorient in Awe
Thanke ffortune / that so wel thee spedde
¶ But now a litel while / I wol biwaille*. [¶ Nota de Pompeyo]
This Pompeus / this noble gouernour
Of Rome / which that fleigh at this bataille
I seye / oon of hise men / a fals traitour
His heed of smoot to wynnen hym fauour
Of Iulius / and hym the heed he broghte
Allas Pompeye / of Thorient Conquerour
That ffortune / vn-to swich a fyn thee broghte
¶ To Rome agayn / repaireth Iulius
With his triumphe / lauriat ful hye
But on a tyme / Brutus Cassius
That euere hadde / of his hye estaat envye
fful priuely / hath maad conspiracye
Agayns this Iulius / in subtil wise
And caste the place / in which he sholde dye
With Boydekyns / as I shal yow deuyse
This Iulius / to the Capitolie wente
Vpon a day / as he was wont to goon
And in the Capitolie / anon hym hente
This false Brutus / and hise othere foon
And stiked hym / with boydekyns anoon
With many a wounde / and thus they lete hym lye
But neuere gronte he / at no strook but oon [folio 180b]
Or elles at two / but if his storie lye Page  499 [6-text p 278] , [6-text p 279]
So manly / was this Iulius of herte
And so wel louede / estaatly honestee
That though hise deedly woundes soore smerte
His Mantel / ouer hise hypes caste he
ffor no man / sholde seen his priuetee
And as he lay / of diyng in a traunce
And wiste verraily / that deed was hee
Of honestee / yet hadde he remembraunce
Lucan / to thee / this storie I recomende
And to Sweton / and to Valerius also
That of this storie / writen word and ende
How þat / to thise grete Conquerours two
ffortune was first freend / and sitthe foo
No man ne truste / vp-on hire fauour longe
But haue hire / in awayt for euere moo
Witnesse / on alle thise Conquerours stronge


This riche Cresus / whilom kyng of Lyde*. [¶ Cresus]
Of which Cresus / Cirus soore hym dradde
Yet was he caught/ amyddes al his pryde
And to be brent/ men to the fyr hym ladde
But swich a reyn / doun fro the welkne shadde
That slow the fyr / and made hym to escape
But to be war / no grace yet he hadde
Til ffortune / on the galwes / made hym gape
Whanne he escaped was / he kan nat stente
ffor to bigynne / a newe werre agayn
He wende wel / for þat ffortune hym sente
Swich hape / that he escaped thurgh the rayn
That of hise foos / he myghte nat be slayn
And eek a sweuene / vp-on a nyght he mette
Of which / he was so proud / and eek so fayn
That in vengeance / he al his herte sette Page  500 [6-text p 279] , [6-text p 280] , [6-text p 268]
Vp-on a tree / he was / as that hym thoughte
Ther Iuppiter hym wesshe / bothe bak and syde
And Phebus eek a fair towaille hym broughte
To dryen hym with / and therfore wax his pryde
And to his doghter / that stood hym bisyde
Which þat he knew / in heigh science habounde
He bad hire telle hym / what it signyfyde
And she his dreem / bigan right thus expounde
The tree quod she / the galwes is to meene [folio 181a]
And Iuppiter / bitokneth snow and reyn
And Phebus / with his towaille so clene
Tho been / the sonne bemes for to seyn
Thou shalt anhanged be / fader certeyn
Reyn shal thee wasshe / and sonne shal thee drye
Thus warned hym / ful plat and ful pleyn
His doghter / which that called was Phanye
An-hanged was Cresus / the proude kyng
His roial Trone / myghte hym nat auaille
Tragedies / noon oother maner thyng /
Ne kan in syngyng crie ne biwaille
But that ffortune / alwey wole assaille
With vnwar strook / the Regnes þat been proude
ffor whan men trusteth hire / thanne wol she faille
And couere hire brighte face / with a clowde*. [[These 4 modern instances should follow Zenobia, p. 268.]]

[Peter the Cruel, of Spain.]

Onoble / o. worthy Petro / glorie of Spayne*. [¶ De Petro Rege Is|pannie]
Whom ffortune heeld / so hye in magestee
Wel oghten men / thy pitous deeth complayne
Out of thy land / thy brother made thee flee
And after/ at a seege by subtiltee
Thou were bitraysed / and lad vn-to his tente
Where as he / with his owene hand slow thee
Succedynge / in thy regne and in thy rente Page  501 [6-text p 268] , [6-text p 269]
The feeld of snow / with thegle of blak ther-Inne*. [[Bertrand du Guesclin.]]
Caught with the lymerod / coloured as the gleede
He brew this cursednesse / and al this synne
The wikked nest was werker of this nede
Noght Charles Olyuver / that took ay heede
Of trouthe and honour / but of Armorike*. [[Oliver de Mauny of Britanny.]]
Genylon Olyuer / corrupt for meede
Broghte this worthy kyng in swich a brike

[Peter of Cyprus.]

Oworthy Petro / kyng of Cipre also*. [¶ De Petro Rege de Cipro]
That Alisandre wan / by heigh maistrie
fful many an hethen / wroghtestow ful wo
Of which / thyne owene liges hadde envie
And for no thyng but for thy Chiualrie
They in thy bed / han slayn thee by the morwe
Thus kan ffortune / hir wheel gouerne and gye
And out of Ioye / brynge men to sorwe

[Bernabo Visconti, of Milan.]

Off Melan / grete Barnabo Viscounte*. [¶ De Barnabo de Lumbardia]
God of delit. and scourge of Lumbardye
Why sholde I nat thyn Infortune acounte
Sith in estaat / thow cloumbe were so hye [folio 181b]
Thy brother sone / that was thy double allye
ffor he thy Nevew was / and sone in lawe
With-Inne his prison / made thee to dye
But why ne how / noot I þat thou were slawe

[Ugolino, Count of Pisa.]

Off the Erl Hugelyn of Pyze / the langour*. [¶ De Huge|lino Comite de Pize]
Ther may no tonge / telle for pitee
But litel out of Pize / stant a tour
In which tour/ in prison put was he
And with hym / been hise litel children thre
The eldeste / scarsly / fyf yeer was of Age
Allas ffortune / it was greet crueltee
Swiche briddes / for to putte / in swiche a Cage Page  502 [6-text p 269] , [6-text p 270]
Dampned was he / to dyen in that prison
ffor Roger / which þat Bisshope was of Pize
Hadde on hym maad / a fals suggestion
Thurgh which / the peple / gan vpon hym rise
And putten hym to prison / in swich wise
As ye han herd / and mete / and drynke he hadde
So smal / that vnnethe it may suffise
And therwith-al / it was ful poure and badde
And on a day / bifil / þat in that hour
Whan þat his mete / wont was to be broght
The Gayler shette the dores of the tour
He herde it wel / but he spak right noght
And in his herte / anon ther fil a thoght/
That they for hunger / wolde doon hym dyen
Allas quod he / allas that I was wroght
Ther-with / the teeris fillen from hise eyen
His yonge sone / that thre yeer was of age
Vn-to hym seyde / fader / fader // why do ye wepe
Whanne wol the Gayler / bryngen oure potage
Is ther no morsel breed / that ye do kepe
I am so hungry / that I may nat slepe
Now wolde god / that I myghte slepen euere
Thanne sholde nat hunger / in my wombe crepe
Ther is no thyng but breed / that me were leuere
Thus day by day / this child bigan to crye
Til in his fadres barm / adoun it lay
And seyde / fare wel fader / I moot dye
And kiste his fader/ and dyde the same day
And whan the woful fader/ deed it say
ffor wo / hise Armes two / he gan to byte
And seyde / Allas ffortune and weylaway [folio 182a]
Thy false wheel / my wo al may I wyte Page  503 [6-text p 270]
Hise children wende / that it for hunger was
That he hise Armes gnow / and nat for wo
And seyde fader/ do nat so Allas
But rather ete the flessh vp-on vs two
Oure flessh thou yaf /. take oure flessh vs fro
And ete ynogh / right thus they to hym seyde
And after that with-Inne a day or two
They leyde hem / in his lappe adoun and deyde
Hym-self despeired / eek for hunger starf
Thus ended is / this myghty Erl of Pize
ffrom heigh estaat ffortune awey hym carf
Of this Tragedie / it oghte ynough suffise
Who so wol here it in a lenger wise
Redeth / the grete Poete of ytaille
That highte Dant. for he kan al deuyse
ffro point to point. nat o word wol he faille
¶ Heere stynteth the Knyght the Monk of his tale. .
¶ Explicit Tragedia
Page  504 [6-text p 281]

¶ The prologue of the Nonnes preestes tale .*. [on leaf 182]

Hoo quod the knyght / good sire namoore this
That ye han seyd / is right ynough ywis
And muchel moore / for litel heuynesse
Is right ynough / to muche folk I gesse
I seye for me / it is a greet disese
Where as men han been / in greet welthe and ese
To heeren / of hire sodeyn fal allas
And the contrarie / is ioye and greet solas
As whan a man / hath ben in poure estaat
And clymbeth vp / and wexeth fortunat
And there abideth / in prosperitee
Swich thyng is gladsom / as it thynketh me
And of swich thyng. were goodly for to telle
Ye quod oure hoost by seint Poules belle
ye seye right sooth this Monk / he clappeth lowde
He spak. how ffortune / couered with a clowde
¶ I noot neuere what/ and also of a Tragedie [folio 182b]
Right now ye herde / and pardee no remedie
It is / for to biwaille / ne compleyne
That þat is doon / and als it is a peyne
As ye han seyd / to heere of heuynesse
¶ Sire monk. namoore of this / so god yow blesse
Youre tale / anoyeth all this compaignye
Swich talkyng is nat worth a boterflye
ffor ther-Inne is ther/ no desport ne game
¶ Wherfore sire Monk daun Piers by youre name
I pray yow hertely / telle vs somwhat elles
ffor sikerly nere clynkyng of youre belles Page  505 [6-text p 282]
That on youre bridel hange / on euery syde
By heuene kyng. that for vs alle dyde
I sholde er this / han fallen doun for sleepe
Al-thogh the slough / had neuer been so deepe
Thanne hadde your tale / al be toold in veyn
ffor certeinly / as that thise clerkes seyn
Where as a man / may haue noon Audience
Noght helpeth it to tellen his sentence
And wel I woot the substance is in me
If any thyng shal wel reported be
Sir / sey somwhat of huntyng I yow preye
¶ Nay quod this Monk/ I haue no lust to pleye
Now lat another telle / as I haue toold
Thanne spak oure hoost with rude speche and boold
And seyde / vn-to the Nonnes preest anon
Com neer thou preest. com hyder thou sir Iohn
Telle vs swich thyng as may oure hertes glade
Be blithe / though thou ryde vp-on a Iade
What thogh thyn hors / be bothe foule and lene
If he wol serue thee / rekke nat a bene
Looke / that thyn herte / be murie eueremo
¶ Yis sir quod he / yis hoost so moot I go
But I be myrie / ywis I wol be blamed
And right anon / his tale he hath attamed
And thus he seyde / vn-to vs euerichon
This sweete preest. this goodly man sir Iohn*. [[8 lines blank in the MS.]]
¶ Explicit
Page  506 [6-text p 283]

¶ Heere bigynneth / the Nonnes Preestes tale of [folio 183a] the Cok and Hen Chauntecleer and Pertelote

A poure wydwe / somdel stape in Age
Was whilom dwellyng. in a narwe cotage
Beside a greue / stondynge in a dale
This wydwe / of which I telle yow my tale
Syn thilke day / that she was last a wyf/*. [[Painting of the Nun's Priest]]
In pacience / ladde a ful symple lyf/
ffor litel / was hir catel and hir rente
By housbondrie / of swich as god hire sente
She foond hir self / and eek hire doghtren two
Thre large sowes / hadde she and namo
Three keen / and eek a sheep þat highte Malle
fful sooty / was hir bour/ and eek hire halle
In which she eet ful many a sklendre Meel
Of poynaunt sauce / hir neded neuer a deel
No deyntee morsel / passed thurgh hir throte
Hir diete / was accordant to hir Cote
Repleccion / ne made hire neuere sik /
Attempree diete / was al hir phisik /
And exercise / and hertes suffisaunce
The goute / lette hire no-thyng for to daunce
Napoplexie / shente nat hir heed
No wyn ne drank / she / neither whit ne reed
Hir bord was serued moost with whit and blak
Milk and broun breed / in which she foond no lak
Seynd Bacon / and somtyme an Ey or tweye
ffor she was / as it were / a maner deye
¶ A yeerd she hadde / enclosed al aboute
With stikkes / and a drye dych with-oute
In which / she hadde a Cok heet Chauntecleer
In al the land / of crowyng nas his peer Page  507 [6-text p 284]
His voys was murier/ than the murie Orgon
On Messedayes / that in the chirche gon
Wel sikerer/ was his crowyng in his logge
Than is a Clokke / or an abbey Orlogge
By nature / he crew eche Ascencioun
Of the equynoxial in thilke toun
ffor whan degrees fiftene weren ascended
Thanne crew he / that it myghte nat been amended
His Coomb was redder / than the fyn coral
And batailled / as it were a Castel wal
His byle was blak and as the Ieet it shoon
Lyk Asure / were hise legges and his toon
Hise nayles / whiter than the lylye flour
And lyk the burned gold / was his colour
This gentil Cok. hadde in his gouernaunce [folio 183b]
Seuene hennes / for to doon al his plesaunce
Whiche were / hise sustres and his paramours
And wonder lyk to hym / as of colours
Of whiche / the faireste hewed / on hir throte
Was cleped / faire damoysele Pertelote
Curteys she was / discreet and debonaire
And compaignable / and bar hyr self so faire
Syn thilke day / þat she was seuen nyght oold
That trewely / she hath the herte in hoold
Of Chauntecleer / loken in euery lith
He loued hire so / þat wel was hym therwith
But swiche a ioye was it to here hem synge
Whan þat / the brighte sonne / bigan to sprynge
In sweete accord / My lief is faren in londe
ffor thilke tyme / as I haue vnderstonde
Beestes and briddes / koude speke and synge
¶ And so bifel / that in the dawenynge
As Chauntecleer / among hise wyues alle
Sat on his perche / that was in the halle
And next hym / sat this faire Pertelote
This Chauntecleer / gan gronen in his throte Page  508 [6-text p 285]
As man þat in his dreem / is drecched soore
¶ And whan that Pertelote / thus herde hym roore
She was agast and seyde o herte deere
What eyleth yow / to grone in this manere
Ye been a verray sleper / fy for shame
¶ And he answerde / and seyde thus? / madame
I pray yow / that ye take it nat agrief
By god me thoughte / I was in swich meschief
Right now / þat yet myn herte is soore afright
Now god quod he / my sweuene recche aright
And kepe my body / out of foul prisoun
Me mette / how that I romed vp and doun
With-Inne our yeerd / wheer as I saugh a beest
Was lyk an hound / and wolde han maad areest
Vpon my body / and han had me deed
His colour/ was bitwixe yelow and reed
And tipped was his tayl / and bothe hise eeris
With blak / vnlyk the remenant of hise heeris
His snowte smal / with glowynge eyen tweye
Yet of his look. for feere almoost I deye
This caused me / my gronyng doutelees
¶ Avoy quod she / fy on yow hertelees
Allas quod she / for by that god aboue
Now han ye lost myn herte and al my loue
I kan nat loue a Coward / by my feith
ffor certes / what so any womman seith
We alle desiren / if it myghte bee [folio 184a]
To han housbondes / hardy wise and free
And secree / and no Nygard / ne no fool
Ne hym / þat is agast of euery tool
Ne noon auauntour / by that god aboue
How dorste ye seyn for shame / vn-to youre loue
That any thyng myghte make yow aferd
Haue ye no mannes herte / and han a berd
¶ Allas and konne ye been agast of sweuenys
No thyng god woot / but vanitee in sweuene is Page  509 [6-text p 286]
Sweuenes / engendren of repleccions
And ofte of fume / and of compleccions
Whan humours / been to habundant in a wight
¶ Certes this dreem / which ye han met to-nyght
Cometh / of greet superfluytee
Of youre rede Colera pardee
Which causeth folk / to dreden in hir dremes
Of Arwes / and of fyre with rede lemes
Of grete beestes / that they wol hem byte
Of contekes and of whelpes / grete and lyte
Right as the humour/ of Malencolie
Causeth ful many a man / in sleepe to crie
ffor feere of blake beres / or boles blake
Or elles / blake deueles wole hem take
¶ Of othere humours / koude I telle also
That werken many a man / in sleepe ful wo
But I wol passe / as lightly as I kan
LO Caton which þat was so wys a man
Seyde he nat thus / ne do no fors of dremes
¶ Now sire quod she / whan ye flee fro the bemes
ffor goddes loue / as taak som laxatyf
Vp peril of my soule / and of my lyf
I conseille yow the beste / I. wol nat lye
That bothe of Colere / and of Malencolye
Ye purge yow / and for ye shal nat tarie
Though in this toun / is noon Apothecarie
I shal my self. to herbes techen yow
That shul been / for youre hele / and for youre prow
And in oure yeerd / tho herbes shal I fynde
The whiche han / of hire propretee by kynde
To purge yow / bynethe and eek aboue
fforyet nat this / for goddes owene loue
Ye been ful coleryk of compleccion
Ware the sonne / in his ascencion
Ne fynde yow nat repleet of humours hoote.
And if it do / I dar wel leye a grote Page  510 [6-text p 287]
That ye shul haue / a ffeuere terciane
Or an Agu / that may be youre bane
A day or two / ye shul haue digestyues [folio 184b]
Of wormes / er ye take youre laxatyues
Of lawriol / Centaure / and ffumetere
Or elles of Ellebor / that groweth there
Of katapuce / or of Gaitrys beryis
Of herbe yue growyng in oure yeerd ther mery is
Pekke hem vp right as they growe and ete hem yn
Be myrie housbonde / for youre fader kyn
Dredeth no dreem / I kan sey yow namoore
Madame quod he / graunt mercy of youre loore
But nathelees / as touchyng Daun Catoun
That hath of wysdom / swich a greet renoun
Though that he bad / no dremes for to drede
By god / men may / in olde bookes rede
Of many a man / moore of Auctorite
Than euere Caton was / so moot I thee
That al the reuers seyn / of this sentence
And han wel founden by experience
That dremes / been significacions
As wel of Ioye / as of tribulacions
That folk enduren / in this lif present
Ther nedeth / make of this noon Argument
The verray preeue / sheweth it in dede
¶ Oon / of the gretteste Auctour / þat men rede*. [¶ Nota de Sompnio]
Seith thus / þat whilom two felawes wente
On pilgrimage / in a ful good entente
And happed so / they coomen in a toun
Wher as ther was / swich congregacioun
Of peple / and eek so streit of herbergage
That they ne founde / as muche as o cotage
In which they bothe / myghte logged bee
Wherfore / they mosten of necessitee
As for that nyght departen compaignye
And ech of hem / gooth to his hostelrye Page  511 [6-text p 288]
And took his loggyng as it wolde falle
That oon of hem / was logged in a stalle
ffer in a yeerd / with Oxen of the plough
That oother man / was logged wel ynough
As was his Auenture / or his ffortune
That vs gouerneth alle / as in commune
¶ And so bifel / þat longe er it were day*. [.i. dremed]
This man mette in his bed ther as he lay
How þat his felawe / gan vp-on hym calle
And seyde Allas / for in an Oxes stalle
This nyght I shal be mordred / ther I lye
Now helpe me deere brother / or I dye
In alle haste / com to me he sayde
¶ This man out of his sleepe / for feere abrayde
But whan that he was wakened / of his sleepe [folio 185a]
He turned hym / and took of it no keepe
Hym thoughte / his dreem nas but a vanitee
Thus twies / in his slepyng dremed hee
And atte thridde tyme / yet his felawe
Cam as hym thoughte / and seide .I am now slawe
Bihoold my bloody woundes depe and wyde
Arys vp erly / in the morwe tyde
And at the West gate / of the toun quod he
A Carte / ful of donge / ther shaltow se
In Which / my body is hid / ful priuely
Do thilke Carte / arresten boldely
My gold caused my mordre / sooth to sayn
And tolde hym euery point how he was slayn
With a ful pitous face / pale of hewe
And truste wel / his dreem he foond ful trewe
ffor on the morwe / as soone as it was day
To his felawes In / he took the way
And whan þat he cam / to this Oxes stalle
After his felawe / he bigan to calle
¶ The hostiler / answerde hym anon
And seyde sire / your felawe is agon Page  512 [6-text p 289]
As soone as day / he wente out of the toun
¶ This man / gan fallen in suspecioun
Remembrynge / on hise dremes / þat he mette
And forth he gooth / no lenger wolde he lette
Vn-to the westgate of the toun / and fond
A dong Carte / as it were to donge lond
That was arrayed / in that same wise
As ye han herd / the dede man deuyse
And with an hardy herte / he gan to crye
Vengeance and Iustice / of this felonye
My felawe / mordred is / this same nyght
And in this Carte / heere he lith gapyng vpright
I crye out on the Ministres quod he
That sholden kepe / and reulen this Citee
Harrow allas / heere lith my felawe slayn
What sholde I moore / vn-to this tale sayn
The peple out sterte / and caste the Cart to grounde
And in the myddel of the dong they founde
The dede man / that mordred was al newe
O blisful god / that art so Iust and trewe*. [¶ Auctor]
Lo / howe þat thou biwreyest mordre alway
Mordre wol out / that se we day by day
Mordre / is so wlatsom / and abhomynable
To god / that is so Iust and resonable
That he / ne wol nat/ suffre it heled be
Though it abyde / a yeer / or two / or thre
Mordre wol out this my conclusioun [folio 185b]
And right anon / Ministres of that toun
Han hent the Carter / and so soore hym pyned
And eek the hostiler / so soore engyned
That they biknewe / hire wikkednesse anon
And were an-hanged / by the nekke bon
¶ Heere may men seen / þat dremes been to drede
And certes / in the same book / I rede
Right in the nexte Chapitre after this
I gabbe nat. so haue I ioye or blis Page  513 [6-text p 290]
Two men / that wolde han passed ouer see*. [¶ Adhuc de sompnio]
ffor certeyn cause / in to a fer contree
If that the wynd / ne hadde been contrarie
That made hem / in a Citee for to tarie
That stood ful myrie / vpon an hauen syde
But on a day / agayn the euen tyde
The wynd gan chaunge / and blew right as hem leste
Iolif and glad / they wente vn-to hir reste
And casten hem / ful erly for to saille
¶ But herkneth / to that o man / fil a greet meruaille
That oon of hem / in slepyng as he lay
Hym mette a wonder dreem / agayn the day
Him thoughte / a man stood by his beddes syde
And hym comanded / þat he sholde abyde
And seyde hym thus / if thou tomorwe wende
Thow shalt be dreynt my tale is at an ende
¶ He wook / and tolde his felawe what he mette
And preyde hym / his viage to lette
As for that day / he preyde hym to byde
¶ His felawe / that lay / by his beddes syde
Gan for to laughe / and scorned him ful faste
No dreem quod he / may so myn herte agaste
That I wol lette / for to do my thynges
I sette nat a straw / by thy dremynges
ffor sweuenes / been but vanytees and Iapes
Men dreme al day / of Owles / or of Apes
And of many a maze / ther-with-al
Men dreme of thyng þat neuere was ne shal
But sith I see / that thou wolt heere abyde
And thus forslewthen / wilfully thy tyde
God woot it reweth me / and haue good day
And thus / he took his leue / and wente his way
But er þat he hadde / half his cours yseyled
Noot I nat why / ne what myschaunce it eyled
But casuelly / the shippes botme rente
And shipe and man / vnder the water wente Page  514 [6-text p 291]
In sighte of othere shippes / it bisyde
That with hem seyled / at the same tyde
And therfore / faire Pertelote so deere [folio 186a]
By swiche ensamples olde / yet maistow leere
That no man / sholde been to recchelees
Of dremes / for I seye thee doutelees
That many a dreem / ful soore is for to drede
LO / in the lyf of seint kenelm / I rede*. [¶ De sompnio sanc|ti kenelmi]
That was kenulphus sone / the noble kyng
Of Mertenrike / how kenelm mette a thyng
A lite er he was mordred / on a day
His mordre / in his Auysion he say
His Norice / hym expowned euery deel
His sweuene / and bad hym for to kepe hym weel
ffor traison / but he nas but .vij. yeer oold
And therfore / litel tale hath he toold
Of any dreem / so hooly is his herte
By god / I hadde leuere than my sherte
That ye hadde rad his legende / as haue I.
Dame Pertelote / I sey yow trewely
Macrobeus / that writ the Avision
In Affrike / of the worthy Cipion
Affermeth dremes / and seith þat they been
Warnynge of thynges / þat men after seen
¶ And forther-moore I pray yow looketh wel*. [¶ Adhuc de sompnijs]
In the olde testament of Daniel
If he / heeld dremes any vanitee
¶ Reed eek of Ioseph / and ther shul ye see
Wher dremes be somtyme / I sey nat alle
Warnynge / of thynges / þat shul after falle
¶ Looke of Egipte / the kyng daun Pharao
His Baker / and his Butiller also
Wher they ne felte noon effect in dremes
Who so wol seken actes / of sondry Remes
May rede of dremes / many a wonder thyng
¶ Lo Cresus / which þat was of Lyde kyng Page  515 [6-text p 292]
Mette he nat that he sat vp-on a tree
Which signified / he sholde anhanged bee
¶ Lo heere Adromacha / Ectores wyf
That day / that Ector / sholde lese his lyf
She dremed / on the same nyght biforn
How þat the lyf of Ector / sholde be lorne
If thilke day / he wente in-to bataille
She warned hym / but it myghte nat auaille
He wente / for to fighte natheles
But he was slayn anon of Achilles
But thilke tale is al to longe for to telle
And eek it is ny day / I may nat dwelle
Shortly I seye / as for conclusion
That I shal han / of this Avision
Aduersitee /. and I seye forthermoor [folio 186b]
That I ne telle / of laxatyues no stoor
ffor they been venymes / I woot it weel
I hem diffye / I loue hem neuer a deel
¶ Now let vs speke of myrthe / and stynte al this
Madame Pertelote / so haue I blis
Of o thyng god hath sent me large grace
ffor whan I se / the beautee of youre face
Ye been so scarlet reed / aboute youre eyen
It maketh / al my drede for to dyen
ffor al so siker / as In principio
Mulier est hominis confusio
¶ Madame / the sentence / of this latyn is
Womman is mannes Ioye / and al his blis
ffor whan I feele a nyght your softe syde
Al be it that I may nat on yow ryde
ffor þat oure perche / is maad so narwe allas
I am so ful of ioye / and of solas
That I diffye / bothe sweuene and dreem
And with that word / he fly doun fro the beem
ffor it was day / and eke hise hennes alle
And with a chuk / he gan hem for to calle Page  516 [6-text p 293]
ffor he hadde founde a corn / lay in the yerd
Real he was / he was namoore aferd
And fethered Pertelote / twenty tyme
And trad as ofte / er it was pryme
He looketh / as it were / a grym leoun
And on hise toos / he rometh vp and doun
Hym deigned nat to sette his foot to grounde
He chukketh / whan he hath a corn yfounde
And to hym rennen thanne / hise wyues alle
Thus roial / as a prince is in an halle
Leue I this Chauntecleer / in his pasture
And after / wol I telle / his auenture
Whan þat the Monthe / in which the world bigan
That highte March / whan god first maked man
Was compleet and passed were also
Syn March bigan / thritty dayes and two
Bifel / that Chauntecleer / in al his pryde
Hise seuene wyues / walkynge by his syde
Caste vp hise eyen / to the brighte sonne
That in the signe of Taurus / hadde yronne
Twenty degrees and oon / and som-what moore
And knew by kynde / and by noon oother loore
That it was Pryme / and crew with blisful steuene
The sonne he seyde / is clomben vp on heuene
ffourty degrees and oon / and moore ywis
Madame Pertelote / my worldes blis
Herkneth thise blisful briddes / how they synge [folio 187a]
And se / the fresshe floures / how they sprynge
fful is myn herte / of reuel and solas
But sodeynly / hym fil a sorweful cas
ffor euere / the latter ende of ioye is wo
God woot þat worldly ioye / is soone ago
And if a Rethor / koude faire endite
He in a Cronycle saufly myghte it write
As for a souereyn notabilitee*. [¶ Petrus Comestor]
Now euery wys man / lat him herkne me Page  517 [6-text p 294]
This storie / is al so trewe I vndertake
As is the book / of launcelot de lake
That wommen holde / in ful greet reuerence
Now wol I / come / agayn to my sentence
A Colfox / ful of sly Iniquitee
That in the groue / hadde wonned yeres three
By heigh ymaginacion / forn-cast
The same nyght / thurgh-out the hegges brast
In-to the yerd / ther Chauntecleer the faire
Was wont and eek hise wyues to repaire
And in a bed of wortes / stille he lay
Til it was passed / vndren of the day
Waitynge his tyme / on Chauntecleer to falle
As gladly / doon thise homycides alle
That in await liggen / to mordre men
O false mordrour / lurkynge in thy den
O newe Scariot newe Genylon
ffalse dissynulour / o greek synon
That broghtest Troye / al outrely to sorwe
O Chauntecleer / acursed be that morwe
That thou in-to that yerd / flaugh fro the bemes
Thou were / ful wel ywarned by thy dremes
That thilke day / was perilous to thee
But what þat god forwoot moot nedes bee
After the opinion / of certein clerkis
Witnesse on hym / that any parfit clerk is
That in scole / is greet altercacion
In this mateere / and greet disputison
And hath been / of an hundred thousand men
But I ne kan nat bulte it to the bren
As kan the hooly doctour Augustyn
Or Boece / or the Bisshope Bradwardyn
Wheither / that goddes / worthy forwityng
Streyneth me / nedefully to doon a thyng
Nedely / clepe I / symple necessitee
Or elles / if free choys be graunted me Page  518 [6-text p 295]
To do that same thyng. or do it noght
Though god forwoot it er þat it was wroght
Or if his wityng. streyneth neuer a deel [folio 187b]
But by necessitee condicioneel
I wil nat han to do / of swich mateere
My tale is of a Cok. as ye may heere
That took his conseil / of his wyf with sorwe
To walken in the yerd / vpon that morwe
That he hadde met that dreem / þat I of tolde
Wommennes conseils / been ful ofte colde
Wommannes conseil / broghte vs first to wo
And made Adam / out of Paradys to go
Ther as he was ful myrie / and wel at ese
But for I noot to whom it myght displese
If I / conseil of wommen wolde blame
Passe ouer / for I seye it in my game
Rede Auctours / where they trete / of swich mateere
And what they seyn of wommen / ye may heere
Thise been the Cokkes wordes / and nat myne
I kan noon harm / of no womman diuyne
Faire in the soond / to bathe hire myrily
Lith Pertelote / and alle hire sustres by
Agayn the sonne / and Chauntecleer so free
Soong murier / than the Mermayde in the see
ffor Phisiologus / seith sikerly
How þat they syngen / wel and myrily
¶ And so bifel / that as he cast his eye
Among the wortes / on a Boterflye
He was war of this fox / þat lay ful lowe
No-thyng ne liste hym thanne for to crowe
But cride anon cok / cok / and vp he sterte
As man / that was affrayed in his herte
ffor natureelly / a beest desireth flee
ffro his contrarie /. if he may it see
Though he neuer erst. hadde seyn it with his eye
¶ This Chauntecleer / whan he gan hym espye Page  519 [6-text p 296]
He wolde han fled / but that the fox anon
Seyde gentil sire / allas wher wol ye gon
Be ye affrayed of me / that am youre freend
Now certes / I were worse than a feend
If I to yow / wolde harm / or vileynye
I am nat come / your conseil for tespye
But trewely / the cause of my comynge
Was oonly / for to herkne how that ye synge
ffor trewely / ye haue as myrie a steuene
As any Aungel / that is in heuene
Ther-with ye han in Musyk moore feelynge
Than hadde Boece / or any þat kan synge
My lord youre fader / god his soule blesse
And eek youre mooder/ of hire gentillesse
Han in myn hous ybeen / to my greet ese [folio 188a]
And certes sire / ful fayn wolde I yow plese
¶ But for men speke of syngyng I wol yow seye
So moote I brouke wel / myne eyen tweye
Saue yow / herde I neuere man yet synge
As dide youre fader / in the morwenynge
Certes / it was of herte / al that he song
And for to make / his voys / the moore strong
He wolde so peyne hym / that with bothe hise eyen
He moste wynke / so loude he wolde cryen
And stonden on his tiptoon / ther-with-al
And strecche forth his nekke / long and smal
And eek he was / of swich discrecion
That ther nas / no man in no Region
That hym / in song or wisedom myghte passe
I haue wel rad / in daun Burnel the Asse
Among hise vers / how that ther was a Cok
ffor that a preestes sone / yaf hym a knok
Vp-on his leg whil he was yong and nyce
He made hym / for to lese his benefice
But certeyn / ther nys no comparison
Bitwixe / the wisedom / and discrecion Page  520 [6-text p 297]
Of youre fader / and of his subtiltee
Now syngeth sire / for seinte charitee
Lat se / konne ye youre fader countrefete
¶ This Chauntecleer / hise wynges gan to bete
As man / þat koude his trayson nat espie
So was he rauysshed with his flaterie
Allas ye lordes / many a fals flatour
Is in youre Courtes / and many a losengeour
That plesen yow / wel moore by my feith
Than he / that soothfastnesse / vn-to yow seith
Redeth Ecclesiaste / of fflaterye
Beth war ye lordes / of hir trecherye
¶ This Chauntecleer / stood hye vp on his toos
Strecchynge his nekke / and heeld hise eyen cloos
And gan to crowe / loude for the nones
And daun Russell the fox / stirte vp atones
And by the gargat hente Chauntecleer
And on his bak / toward the wode hym beer
ffor yet ne was ther no man / þat hym sewed
¶ O destinee / that mayst nat been eschewed
Allas / þat Chauntecleer / fleigh fro the bemes
Allas / his wyf / ne roghte nat of dremes
And on a friday / fil al this meschaunce
¶ O Venus / that art goddesse of plesaunce
Syn that thy seruant. was this Chauntecleer [folio 188b]
And in thy seruyce / dide al his poweer
Moore for delit than world to multiplye
Why woltestow suffre hym / on thy day to dye
¶ O Gaufred deere Maister souerayn
That whan thy worthy kyng Richard was slayn
With shot. compleynedest his deeth so soere
Why ne hadde I now / thy sentence / and thy loore
The friday for to chide / as diden ye
ffor on a friday / soothly slayn was he
Thanne wolde I shewe yow / how þat I koude pleyne
ffor Chauntecleres drede / and for his peyne Page  521 [6-text p 298]
¶ Certes / swich cry / ne lamentacion
Was neuere / of ladyes maad / whan Ylion
Was wonne / and Pirrus with his streite swerd
Whan he hadde hent kyng Priam / by the berd
And slayn hym / as seith vs Eneydos
As maden / alle the hennes in the clos
Whan they had seyn / of Chauntecleer the sighte
But sodeynly / dame Pertelote shrighte
fful louder/ than dide Hasdrubales wyf
Whan þat hir housbonde / hadde lost his lyf
And þat the Romayns / hadde brend Cartage
She was / so ful of torment and of rage
That wilfully / in-to the fyr she sterte
And brende hir seluen / with a stedefast herte
¶ O woful hennes / right so criden ye
As whan that Nero / brende the Citee
Of Rome / cryden senatours wyues
ffor þat hir husbondes losten alle hir lyues
With-outen gilt this Nero hath hem slayn
Now turne I wole /. to my tale agayn
This sely wydwe / and eek hir doghtres two
Herden thise hennes crie / and maken wo
And out at dores / stirten they anon
And syen the fox / toward the groue gon
And bar vp-on his bak / the Cok away
And cryden out harrow / and weylaway
Ha. ha / the fox / and after hym they ran
And eek with staues / many another man
Ran Colle oure dogge / and Talbot and Gerland
And Malkyn / with a dystaf / in hir hand
Ran Cow and Calf and the verray hogges
So fered / for berkyng of the dogges
And shoutyng of the men and wommen eek ·
They ronne so / hem thoughte hir herte breek
They yolleden / as feendes doon in helle
The dokes cryden / as men wolde hem quelle Page  522 [6-text p 299]
The gees for feere / flowen ouer the trees [folio 189a]
Out of the hyve / cam the swarm of bees
So hydous was the noyse / a benedicitee
Certes / he Iakke Straw / and his meynee
Ne made neuere / shoutes / half so shille
Whan þat they wolden / any flemyng kille
As thilke day / was maad vp-on the fox
Of bras / they broghten bemes and of box
Of horn / of boon / in whiche they blewe and powped
And ther-with-al / they skriked / and they howped
It semed / as that heuene sholde falle
Now goode men / I pray yow herkneth alle
Lo / how ffortune / turneth sodeynly
The hope / and pryde / of hir enemy
This Cok / that lay vpon the foxes bak
In al his drede / vn-to the fox he spak
And seyde sire / if that I were as ye
Yet wolde I seyn / as wys god helpe me
Turneth agayn / ye proude cherles alle
A verray pestilence / vp-on yow falle
Now am I come / vn-to the wodes syde
Maugree youre heed / the Cox shal heere abyde
I wol hym ete in feith / and that anon
¶ The fox answerde / in feith it shal be don
And as he spak that word / al sodeynly
This Cok / brak from his mouth delyuerly
And heighe vp-on a tree / he fleigh anon
And whan the fox saugh / þat he was gon
¶ Allas quod he / o Chauntecleer / allas
I haue to yow quod he ydoon trespas
In as muche / as I maked yow aferd
Whan I yow hente / and broght in to this yerd
But sire I dide it. of no wikke entente
Com doun / and I shal telle yow what I mente
I shal seye sooth to yow / god help me so
¶ Nay thanne quod he / I shrewe vs bothe two Page  523 [6-text p 300]
And first I shrewe my self / bothe blood and bones
If thou bigyle me / any ofter than ones
Thou shalt na moore / thurgh thy flaterye
Do me to synge / and wynke with myn eye
ffor he that wynketh / whan he sholde see
Al wilfully / god lat him neuere thee
¶ Nay quod the fox / but god yeue hym meschaunce
That is so / vndiscreet of gouernaunce
That Iangleth / whan he sholde holde his pees
¶ Lo swich it is / for to be recchelees
And necligent and truste on flaterye
¶ But ye / that holden / this tale a folye
As of a fox / or of a Cok and Hen [folio 189b]
Taketh the moralite / goode men
ffor seint Paul seith / þat al that writen is
To oure doctrine / it is ywrite ywis
Taketh the fruyt and lat the chaf be stille
Now goode god / if that it be thy wille
As seith my lord / so make vs alle goode men*. [¶ scilicet domi|nus Archiepis|copus Cantuari|ensis]
And brynge vs / to his heighe blisse Amen
¶ Heere is ended / the Nonnes preestes tale .